“To Eat Alone”

Some recent events in my life made me a lonely man, and therefore a lonely eater.

When I was a father in a family, I was really happy to have dinner-togetherness, to cook for my tribe, to talk, listen, laugh, and feel the family’s energy around the table.

I’ve been very skeptical when I read about how Americans were losing these daily gatherings of all the big cats around the table. “Everyone is having snacks when they want, everybody’s picking things in the fridge, watch TV or eat in bedrooms”, they said. My feelings were like between “it’s not true, it’s impossible” and “oh these Americans!”.

When my daughters were little, some days I went home late, it was almost time to go to bed : I told them stories, kissed them goodnight, then I was happy to have dinner with their mother, but also alone.

I remember good summer evenings. Two cat babies sleeping, mother cat watching a movie, and me papa cat, with a cassoulet, two slices of bread and half of a bottle of Bergerac wine, eating on a tray, on my bed, in front of a wide open double-window (or should I say “French door”, really?), watching and listening birds and trees in the dusk, sshhh.

Not working on thursdays, I remember I was happy to have meal time alone, eating in silence in the kitchen, listening to the rain outside. On my table : a candle, a corner lamp, and a magazine (about movies). Maybe some Brahms chamber music too. Bliss!

Now I eat alone, but I don’t snack. I never snack, and I’m always questioning my snacking friends in America, opening different little colored bags to crinch crunch and croonch while we Skype. I’m like “Where’s your plate, dear?”. They know I eat alone, thus they’re somewhat amazed by HOW I’m eating alone. Well, that’s nothing special, but I… I’m sorry… I can’t snack. It would kill me under a blanket of depression. It’s almost : “I’m French therefore I need a plate”.

I know better, OK : I have more time, in France. We work less, we move less (distances are… different here – I go to work by bike), and… errr… I think we think that food time is worth it, too : I eat alone but it’s cooked, sliced, prepared, organized. Just a bit. I need it.

Awweee sorry for my bad English. I’m wobbling, I know it. Pardonnez-moi !

Have a nice day! Bon appétit !

IMG-20160606-WA0006

IMG-20160528-WA0029

 

 

 

 

Uncontrol the Controllable – The Chardonnay Effect

“Control the controllable”, I read one day on a blog (about how to avoid stress, I think). This sounded like a generalization of Marcus Aurelius‘s quote :

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

…and I liked it. Control the controllable (which is your mind). Power and concision of English language!

Seneca says something like :

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality”

…which is complementary, right? What is uncontrollable, now, though?

MMmhhhh. Epictetus can help us here :

“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”

(I bolded the bold). It seems that philosophers from Antiquity had some thinkings about life, right? “As it happens” (Amor fati, etc).

Love what happens…

My article is about : what if, for a moment,  I do not want to control what I could control. Uncontrol the controllable. “Make the best use of what is in your power” can then become for me… to smile and listen to propositions of life.

I call it the Chardonnay effect.

Chardonnay is a French white wine. It seems to have a strange effect : I forget “rules and regulations”, I have less desires to control what I can control. I open some doors and paths, just to see. Don’t drink too much, though!

Thanks to some French Magic, I seem to be more able to enjoy the moment, extend possibilities, be in place, and realize that life is too short to CONTROL EVERYTHING.

Well, Chardonnay (and okey, other wines too, probably, LOL) have the capacity to make me decide to let go, to dance. With the ability – I hope – to recontrol if necessary, right?

Royksöpp, in this song, says the dangers of uncontrolling this way, though :

I still don’t know just what I’ve done
I don’t remember anymore what I used to be

OK, but what side doesn’t remember the other one? Is there a danger to begin to love the uncontrol? Is there a conflict between guts and reason? What kind of dance is it, then, between Face A and B, forest and trees, pleasure and rules, opening doors and lukewarm but necessary important security behind closed ones? Jekyll and Hyde? What kind of door is it, between the two?

Don’t drink, stay in control. Voilà.

Cheers! A la bonne vôtre !

wine-chard.jpg

Une Américaine à Paris…

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 you eyes.

I was once in Paris with an American lady, who seemed constantly amazed by the pace of the city, the taste of la baguette (is French bread really that better ?), cheeses and saucisson, the light on the roofs of Paris, the open skies over La Seine and the way kids are running laughing playing together after school in a warm evening, after school, in le Parc Monceau.

There wasn’t a day without me saying “You knowwwww…”, the only way I found to tell her that, errr, we are cool, we don’t play the rules that much, we like to do nothing, the french wine is cheaper than in California, and we love the word “promenade”…

Woody Allen explained this a little in his movie Midnight in Paris. Owen Wilson was a bit like my friend : American, but fascinated by the douceur de vivre of France.

I would like to thank John Oliver for his little hilarious speech about France : http://www.newyorker.com/culture/sarah-larson/vive-john-oliver

“France is going to endure. And I’ll tell you why. If you are in a war of culture and life style with France, good fucking luck!” – good example with the croquembouche “That is a French freedom tower!”.

Yum.

What’s up ? The Sky. So don’t #prayforparis : just come, breathe, venez visiter la France !

20151005_181420