I looked anxiously out the cab window as I rode with a friend through the streets of Paris on our way to catch a train.
This was during my European vacation in the summer of 1982. The sun was coming up and there seemed to be no one around this most wonderful city.
I was so tired and stressed about making the train that I don’t think I fully appreciated that beautiful morning. (And we did catch the train.)
Sunrise will be at 8:25AM in Paris tomorrow morning. I only know this because my smart phone offered to share this bit of information with me when I hit a button and didn’t make my original request fast enough.
This was one of a series of queries or tasks that my phone suggested, which included the score of the Giants game (I don’t follow football) and sending an email to Brian, whoever he is.
Smart phones didn’t exist back in 1982, so I wasn’t carpal-tunneling my thumbs into numbness on Twitter or photographing the back of the driver’s head or shooting a video of the passing scenery. And I sure as hell didn’t send an email to Brian or anybody else.
I just looked out the window while the sun rose over the City of Light.
There was no Internet back then, of course, so if you wanted to know the height of the Eiffel Tour (984 feet), you couldn’t ask your phone and get an instant answer. You had to check a guidebook or go to the library.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but obviously it is. I took pictures on that trip, but with a film camera and I didn’t photograph my breakfast croissant or snap a selfie with a wheel of camembert.
You couldn’t store your pictures in your phone or computer, so I have absolutely no idea whatever became of those photos.
The Last Time I Saw Paris
I always swore I’d never turn into my parents, but it looks like I have.
I talk about the good old days, tell techno-deprived war stories about how back in my day we didn’t have Facebook or Instagram. If you wanted friends you had to go out and get them.
I’m sure young people in the vicinity of my ravings must be shaking their heads and thinking “get a load of this fossil.”
But if humanity doesn’t destroy itself in the near future, millennials will experience the same irritated amazement at the next generation’s marvelous machinery.
I asked my phone to give me that list of questions again only this time it—she?—handed me a link to some website that listed the 50 most important questions and I tried answering a few.
What does happiness mean? Can you define real happiness? Still working on that one.
What are your thoughts on Karma and do you believe in it? A shrink once asked me that and after some dodging I had to finally admit that while it sounds good, karma or fate don’t seem at all possible in this world.
Does the Universe have a fence or boundary around it? What the fuck are you talking about?
We’re in the midst of yet another holiday season and I recall the words of Robert Duvall who once said that when you’re old it seems like it’s always Christmastime. I laughed at the time, but not so much now.
After Christmas comes the dead of winter, my least favorite time of year, where I swear once again that I’m moving to Los Angeles. Or maybe Australia.
But I’d even settle for a cab ride through Paris at sunrise. I’ll think I email Brian and ask him to join me.