Bicycle Renting & Wheels Encounters

Yesterday I learned a new English word : “rad”. I’m trying to place it somewhere, but it’s hard. What (or who is) “rad”, these days?

Lille is a city in the North of France. We have a bicycle renting package here, and you find stations with a few dozens bikes a little everywhere in the city. You just pay a few Euros a year and you can pick up a bike whenever you want. They called it “V’Lille”, how smart.

You just have to push a card on a screen, type a 4 digits code. Then you choose your machine, you ride it, you bring up the right pedal and you go girl!

Each time I just need a few rolls to “analyse” my new encounter. Because each bike has its own personality, right?

  • Some are just noisy, they squeak and they grate. Faster you go, faster it squeaks. Skouic skouic -> skouicskouicskouicskouic.
  • Some are jammed on one brake, so you have to pedal harder. That’s life, boy! Pedal. Exercise is good for health. Pff pff pff (it’s your breath).
  • Some are just broken. Or the chain is out of it. You put it back and pick another one. The tacit code is to reverse the seat and put it to the downest (yess I know it’s not English but you got me).
  • Some bikes are just slightly twisted. The wheel and the handlebars are not in the same direction. Just a little, but it’s enough to bike weirdodidily. Your brain is like “more focused”. Your eyes are wide opened mangalike because… just because.
  • Sometimes the seat is just wrongly tilted. Towards the head and you’re afraid to fall on the bar, ouchy (ayeu). Towards the tail and you look like a pedalling tortoise under caffeine.

Isn’t this a good metaphor for people? You meet someone (at work, for example) and you immediatly begin to listen to their words, the way they talk, the way they move or look around. Dials everywhere in your head. And then, you have to adapt. Some persons are slow, slightly twisted, broken, etc… We just have to deal with this.

Sometimes, though, you find a good bike. Yeyyyy! A rad one! You would like to add a little sign on them. Biking, then, c’est délicieux, vraiment délightful. You don’t wanna give it back! Evidently; ’cause a good bike is hard to find. I’d go anywhere with this one. Can I keep it, mister mayor?


#vlille #bicycles

The Cauldron Method (or How to Be Casual with Masterpieces)

OK I’m french. My english is a frenglish, it’s rusty and wobbly, et voilà. Try me, though. I’ll do my best. I promise. If sometimes it’s too bad, just laugh at me or roll your eyes.

In front of impressive masterpieces you can find yourself very SHY. It happened to me a few years ago with La Recherche, by Proust : In Search of Lost Time, a pack of seven big books, you know, MMMasterpiece of Masterpieces, blabla. I bought it and never dared to begin ! How to read this ? With what kind of solemnity ? Terrifying ! (I’d add : poor you, if you have to read this in English and deal with the choice of translation).

You may also have this feeling in front of a domain you know rich, but you don’t know a penny about it. I had to handle this when I decided to open the door of the Opera territory. From where to begin ? Which composer ? Mozart ? Wagner ? Who ?

Shy as a little chicken in its shell, I began to read books about Proust. In one of them the author was angry at me. Really ! He was saying something like I was silly to be solemn about La Recherche, advising me to shup up and read what I want, in the order I want, and to let go “annoying pages” (!). It was as if a good father was talking to me, so I obeyed, and it was perfect.

After trying a little Verdi (boriiiing) I searched for the “next Italian composer”, found Puccini, and I… didn’t know what to do. Each opera was very long ! And there were many…

I remembered Proust and I tried not to worry too much : How to choose a first opera to listen to ? Director ? I began to wander randomly on YouTube and I listened to things with  little “I don’t care” ears. Of course, it worked.

I remember it in the most crystallest clearest way : Manon Lescaut was singing somewhere in my headphones as I was writing an email. The music then began to stop me. One time. Two times. Three. I had to really stop writing, like “Heyyyyy ??!”. Le plaisir was slipcrawling into my brain.

I got it ! The wire. I pulled it, and now I love Manon Lescaut, and Il Trittico, and La Bohème, etc.

Tools :

The Cauldron Method means two things :

1/ Don’t care that much about Masterpieces (with big M capital). You won’t hurt them ! These are not Cathedrals of Culture. Let go. Breathe. Find your own entrance. A lateral one. Then the kingdoms of pleasure are yours.

2/ Loosen your belt. And your tie. Be casual. The Masterpiece is probably a real one. IT WILL CATCH YOU ANYWAY.