October 3, 2015
Getting our family to France was like playing an intense game of Tetris. (Should we bring one stroller and make our 5-year-old son walk everywhere, two light strollers for both the boys or a heavy but practical double stroller? Would it be better to take Uber to LAX, drive ourselves and park our car in a lot there for two weeks OR ask a friend to drive us in our car with the necessary car seats and then have the car driven home? You get the picture.) Well, we made it – all four of us – along with one large suitcase, two backpacks, two carry-on bags, one purse, two car seats and one lightweight stroller. We survived the red-eye, though I can’t say it was a piece of gâteau. We had to physically restrain Rocky to prevent him from repeatedly kicking the seat in front of him, it took forever for the crew to turn off the lights in the plane (signaling bedtime) and after a night of choppy sleep I found myself in the awkward situation of being hit on by an Air France flight attendant…as I sat with my family.
Even though we were exhausted, arriving in Paris was invigorating. It took quite a long time for a taxi driver to agree to pick us up with all our stuff, but once that happened, we were on our way to discovering the delights of the city. As we left the airport I spotted a mosaic by Invader, a well-known French urban artist. It was a pixelated ghost on top of the word PLAY en anglais. We rolled down the windows and let the cool breeze blow through our hair. Ahhh, fall.
Our driver favored jazz music, and I noticed a Kamasi Washington tune was playing on the radio. It took me back to when Jonas and I were first dating and we went to see his roommate Dave, a.k.a. DJ Dave, and his band Fatslice play at Temple Bar in Santa Monica. Kamasi played the saxophone that evening and I took a picture of him with my old-school automatic focus camera that used actual film. I didn’t know him at the time; I just liked the way he looked in his shiny denim suit playing sax in front of a colorful Buddha painting onstage.
Jazzy hip-hop sounds swirled around us. I loved the music, the venue and the vibe. As a native Southern Californian who had been living in Paris for over two years, I found that this place and this music felt simultaneously foreign and familiar. I leaned back in my seat and sighed contentedly. Jonas was planning on moving to New York City in a couple months and I remember asking him, “Aren’t you going to miss all this?” He replied, “no” nonchalantly and that surprised me. I came to learn it was not because he didn’t appreciate his friends, the music or culture of LA. It was because he is the type of person who is always looking forward. My husband cherishes things and moments in the present as opposed to missing them later.
Fast forward to this trip. Once we got settled into our apartment in the 10th arrondissement, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. So many sights and smells to behold! We found a nearby playground and let R&R blow off some steam. Hunger and jet lag kicked in so we headed to the nearest market, Franprix. In addition to basic groceries, I picked up a bottle of Bourgueil in honor of my friend Dee (she loves a good Bourgueil) and a bag of rotisserie chicken-flavored potato chips because, duh, I knew they would be delicious. Walking back to the apartment, I spotted what I thought was another Invader piece. Was it his or a copycat’s? Or was it part of the bank’s motif?
At home I whipped up a simple four cheese ravioli with tomato sauce. I thought the boys would love it. Rocky, our almost 2-year-old, took one bite and said, “All done.” Rhône wasn’t as subtle. He said it was disgusting, that he hated it and that he was “never coming to France ever, ever, EVER again!” Jet lag is so fun. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Kamasi Washington’s most recent work, “Harmony of Difference”, is currently on view as part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial in New York City. You can learn more about the audiovisual project here.