Every time I go to Paris, I am troubled. First of all, I love it. This would be a trite statement to make were it not for the fact that Paris is like Home City. They only differ by some 800 years of existence (Paris is older, obviously), several magnitudes of significance and trillions of francs more poured into the former.
So, every time I go to Paris, I am faced with an alternative version of myself, a bit like what happened in Cologne last summer.
What if I had insisted in studying in Paris? Ok, I would be a worse professional and maybe an unemployed one, too. But maybe I would have lingered on HERE, no negligible matter. I would be proficient in French, the language I love most besides my native one. I would have led a self-confident, bohemian and perhaps perpetually penniless existence. I would have paired up with any number of obnoxious but spectacularly charming somehow ugly (like me) Parisian women smelling of this 80s perfume I still cannot place (not Poison, not Opium and – dear oh dear – not Tresor, which to me was synonymous to sex for half of the nineties). I would take cheap great wine for granted. I would have developed an awful taste in music and I would mistake vagueness for depth and obfuscation for greatness. I would probably be fat, what with all that food, but much more self-confident.
I hate to say it, but it would probably not be me. All the above would take a different character, a different person. Therefore I am not of Paris. Couldn’t have been, too.