A year has passed, and we’re about to return to Paris. Tomorrow, in fact. It’s going to be a pivotal time in the City of Light—indeed, in the entire country—as France will be holding a runoff election May 7th. We’ll be there.
It’s cold here. High-humidity cold. It seeps into your skin like a nicotine patch. It’s as persistent as a senate filibuster and as welcome as a letter from the IRS.
Today we were supposed to be under our favorite palapa in Puerto Vallarta, slurping margaritas and wiggling our toes in warm sand. You know the story. Instead, with hardly two weeks to adjust, we trundled off to live for three months in an eighty-year-old French farmhouse, constructed of solid masonry that retains cold like a numismatist collects stamps. Outside, a grousing heat pump tries to salvage heat from air that has none. Inside, eighty-year-old radiators, once bristling with steam from an oil-fired boiler, now circulate lukewarm water from the heat pump, warming the air with a whisper rather than the shout of ancient fire.
Thus, today we meet the second of five words that I’m using to describe our French experience: cold.