Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Still resting, toes still black and blue, no idea what's going on under the plastercast until they remove it, please let them remove it, going to Paris in four days hiiiihiiiii. I've become quite attached to the notion that Paris won't take kindly to me with a gammy leg. My ugly NHS crutches will be confiscated at customs; because of my biscuit eating/resting induced poor muscle tone I'll be sent home with a copy of the secret leek soup diet tucked inside my passport. If I do manage to slip through with my crutches people will give me withering looks as I gingerly negotiate the cobblestone courtyard outside where I stay. Someone may even tread on my foot - the worst possible scenario. I don't know why I think this, maybe because I can't remember ever seeing a person in a wheelchair in Paris, or any disabled access - I've always noticed these things of course.

By complete coincidence I discovered the 1930s swimming pool in Paris I was looking for when I still thought I'd be flapping my feet around in no time. Because the film of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was shown at Cannes I decided to read the book again in anticipation. The author, Jean-Dominique Bauby, recounts a memory of going to the Molitor swimming pool as a young boy and I knew instantly that was it. It looks like it was fantastic, but sadly, was closed down in 1989 and the building is now in a dilapidated state. It's kind of tragic - the pool and the book.
Jean- Dominique Bauby was the editor in chief of French Elle. At the age of 42 he had a massive stroke and went into a coma. When he woke up he was completely paralysed, unable to speak and could only move his left eye. He dictated the entire book by having the alphabet read to him and blinking when it got to the letter he wanted to use. It's a very humorous book actually, as well as sad: a mixture of memoir and daily observations on his condition, the reactions of people around him and the frustrations of being looked upon as a "turnip" when his mind is still fully intact. Another coincidence: when I opened the book again there was a label inside the cover with "Please return to..." and my mother's name written in her handwriting. I can't remember if it was her book and she lent it to someone in hospital, or if it was mine and I lent it to her.

For some reason the book and she popped up at the same time - probably to remind me of Jean-Dominique blinking his way through a chapter or her steadfastly refusing any help when it would have taken someone else 10 seconds to do what it took her an hour to struggle to do.

I'll just think of them when I have to get on the metro with my broken foot and suitcase. Easy.


Anonymous said...

i cannot wait to see the film. so far julian schnabel has not disappointed. hope your toe heels quickly!

Julia said...

Hope you heel quickly and have a fab, fab, FAB time in Paris!

(Glad that Romain's bottom helped, mmm...)

Bombay Beauty said...

Books are beautiful for many reasons, often because of their content but also because they become physical repositories of memory as well. A little receipt that one was using as a bookmark, an inscription, even just the yellowing pages.

Have a lovely time in Paris. I'm still of the view that men find damsels in distress irresistible, so I'm sure you'll have a fine time.



Life with Sofia, Gus and Jim said...

Have a lovely time in Paris.