April 8 2013
I have more questions than I have answers right now. This for me is a period when life is making no sense. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for why things are the way they are. But did it ever make sense? Why do we assume that things will become clearer with time?
I put on my beige pixie boots and I head out. The thin soles allow my feet to feel every bump of the ground below. I get off on the feeling of eating up the pavement.
As I walk, I am completely tied up in my thoughts. Like a lost child looking for her mother, I survey the world, looking an answer. Why is it that some days we run for the bus, whilst on others, we're happy to just let it sail by? What is it that motivates each of us? And why is it that?
I read books and I watch films. Lost in Translation was on the playlist last night. I watched it in 2003 when it first came out and dare I admit this, but I couldn't relate to the characters and I found it boring. Yesterday, the ending had me almost in tears.
The jet-lag Bob Harris and Charlotte suffer is like the insomnia I'm experiencing. The feeling of being completely lost, outside your home culture is also something I can relate to. I appreciated the way the craziness of the city contrasted with the calmness of the hotel. It didn't give me any answers, but it did make me look at the questions in another way.
I needed to go to a hotel bar. One of the best ways of finding out where you're going in life is to watch people as they are in transit. For me, watching people at Arrivals is one of the most fascinating things. (Trust me, the amount of time I've spent waiting for somebody to come through those doors, I know.)
The next most evocative are luxury 5* hotel bars. Paris is certainly not short of them. The Ritz Bar remained the most iconic during the last century, but having closed for refurbishments last year, I'm forced to look elsewhere. The George V.
There is something seriously decadent about these hotel bars, I find. Stepping inside is like taking a step back in time and my mind wanders to all the insolicit encounters that must have taken place in there over the years. Of all the comings, goings, mutterings and romancings. More than any cocktail or wine bar, they have character.
I settle myself in at the table by the window and order an old Armagnac. I let myself sink into the armchair and take in my surroundings. The bar is busy, but not terribly. Elderly gentlemen, couples, friends, families, lovers. The service is discreet but warm. The tinkling on the ivories and the occasional clink of cutlery in the background provide the staccato intruding in the murmur of hushed conversation. I have obviously not yet become completely invisible as I am soon joined by someone who talks to me about wine in Turkey, the marvel of the Northern Lights and the Changing of the Guard in London. In this plush, luxurious environment, it's a heady combination.
By the end of the evening, I still don't have any of the answers that I was looking for but at least I couldn't tell you what the questions were anymore!