jeff heimbrock

old soul, teenage dreams

eat, pray, eat again: stray thoughts from France (part 1)

Bonjour from a glamorous Starbucks in Bordeaux, France (yes, that Bordeaux). I've been having a whirlwind vacation that has so far taken me to Paris, Beaune (Burgundy area), and Lyon. My limited French sounds absolutely heinous coming out my midwestern mouth, but I've been getting by with my American ingenuity. I have often been ordering things without any real idea of what will come to the table. Initially consumed by the idea that I would be whisked off my feet in a subdued but whirlwind romance with a sullen-faced dreamboat I bump into in a café, my affairs have been restricted to fondly gazing at French dudes wearing tight pants.

Traveling alone has led to some very solitary dining experiences (which I'm learning aren't as satisfying as they are in New York, where I always feel like I'm escaping people). I have been reading a lot on my iPhone (I know). I've also been making precious use of the Evernote membership I convinced myself I NEEDED a few months ago. Here are some stray thoughts from France:

12.7.17 Paris, France

-If anything, Paris has inspired me to dress better. I was very self-conscious walking around the boulevards today, in my New York Times t-shirt and my 2-year old khaki shorts. I looked like a fresh arrival at Princeton. But this is my everyday costume (swap khakis for jeans and that's my daily look). 

This kind of pared down style can help you become a billionaire, (according to Mark Zuckerberg) but I am supposed to be glamorous artist! An actor! A GAY MAN!!! There is no doubt I can escape my boyish looks, at least not for a couple more years unfortunately. I am going to turn thirty and still get carded in midtown. I walk down 8th avenue and get asked if I'm in town competing at the Jimmy Awards. I want so badly to look and sound like a man, but alas. 

-Paris is the most beautiful city. Untouched, timeless, forever glowing in the past, its buildings reaching out from decades bygone, its atmosphere as effervescent as it always has been (or we're told it always was). 

-Omg the waitress just ran out to shoo away a drunk and disorderly man, after a patron tried to get him away by throwing water on him. Hilarious. "Oh la la" says the woman next to me.

-I think I just saw Marion Cotillard get into an Uber, but it could just be one of my queer flashes.

-Coming to France was the right choice. Even if I got sick the day I left. Even if I have to sacrifice a job because of this trip. I think it'll have been worth it. Because this trip is for me. Strictly for me. And when's the last time I truly did something like that??

13.7.17 Paris, France

-I think I'm looking too much for a Disney prince. My standard is high. I would like to say that I'm worth and deserve the best, but I don't know if I actually believe in that 100%. 

-I bet someone is looking over at me and thinking "he must be writing a book." Well here's what I have to say: I am.

-Girl next to me at Les Etages (cocktail bar in Le Marais, rec. to me by Sara): "I always see the glass half full until the foreplay. Then I know what I am getting myself into. The fourth date is when I realize who you are and if i like you."

14.7.17- Beaune, France

-I need to stop ordering dessert- I get too full before it comes and can hardly eat it (lying). My second glass at Bistrot was the Santenay (2013) and it's a bit lighter wine, maybe a little spicier than the Côte de Nuits. I wonder what côte means in french. COAST. Côte d'Utopia. Un dramatique dans trois parts.

-I keep myself extremely busy. So busy I'm trying to schedule downtime to let my head breathe. I don't think that's how it works. 

-Cheese I loved was comté (?) not sure on spelling but that's what the waiter said. He is very cute. French Michael Cera. Very young. 

15.7.17 Beaune, France

-I'm reading up about silence and the power of silence and silence is something I think is supremely lacking in my life. I need space to receive. I need space for surprise. Everything is so programmed, my whole day is programmed. I don't allow myself time to wander. How can I maintain my productiveness and then allow myself time to breathe? Maybe cutting down my social media time will help. That soul sucking vortex only serves as constant reminder of everything that I convince myself I'm not (pretty, funny, talented, useful, worthwhile, worth anything).

-What's happening to our attention spans? Will we even be able to go the Opéra in 30 years?! I am fearful for it all. 

-When I'm older, Lord, please grant me the grace and circumstance to wear a jean jacket under a tied sweater wrap.

-I'm going to have to change my Scruff tribe to Stuffed Pig after this trip considering the amount of butter I'm consuming.

-I wonder if Emily Brontë ever thought her passionate, deeply soulful piece of literature would be read on a 5" screen.

-I told myself that 3 glasses of anything would be my limit from now on. That was literally yesterday (or maybe today??) I'm on my 4th glass of wine.

-I'm going to get another damned almond croissant tomorrow morning before my train. That shit is just crack. I bit into it and it was like that scene from Moulin Rouge when they drink Absinthe. Kylie Minogue didn't appear, but I did have a brief vision of Nicole Kidman whispering something melodramatic in my face.