Photos from my first trip to Paris at age 15

Old yearbooks.  These exist only to taunt and torment the people whose photos they contain, preserving for all history how silly and awkward you really looked through adolescence.  I think the yearbook may have been invented purely out of spite by someone years ago who sold everyone on the idea and then failed to show up for the class photo so that later no one could really say what that person looked like, while he or she could then scoff at the clothes everyone else wore at the time.  Not to mention their hair.

It is an exciting and terrifying thing to discover a box of stuff from your high school days at your parents’ house.  There is no telling what it will contain or if you want to know.  Yet, somehow, you know you must open it.  I can’t say how happy I am that a stack of old yearbooks didn’t fall out of the box I found.  The yearbooks remain hidden away somewhere unknown, which is all for the best in the grand scope of it all, I’m sure.

Among some notes from classmates, photos from my freshman year in college, a few VHS cassettes, some mixtapes, and various other memories, I found the photos I took when I went to Paris with French Club between my Sophomore and Junior years in high school.

Some of the photos were terrible, like this one:


Seriously, there is no telling what was going on in my strange 15-year-old mind when I took that shot.  Certainly not the tourist poster for the Catacombs.


Some of them were inexplicable, like this one:


I have no idea why I took this photo nor anything about the African Safari Club in Paris.  But, for that matter, the place will always be mysterious to me.  There will always be some part of Paris yet to discover.


There is the obligatory photo of me standing by Jim Morrison’s grave:


I can’t remember who took this photo, but it’s perhaps the worst photo of me ever taken.  But it’s at Jim Morrison’s grave.  I remember thinking it might be inappropriate to smile in a photo taken at a grave but also that it might be weird to not smile, so I ended up doing both at the same time right as the photo was shot.


But, then, just as it is with memories of adolescence, there were some photos that weren’t too bad, like these:


A view from our hotel window.



Another view from our hotel window.



Some kids hanging out on the steps of a famous place in Paris.  There are a lot of famous places in Paris, and this is one of them.  Honestly, I forget which one.  Breathtaking, though.



The Eiffel Tower.  Somehow you never forget the first time you saw it.



The Opera House.  Mainly I remember a horde of pigeons milling around the place.  Perhaps they enjoy Verdi.



Tour Montparnasse.  The tallest building in Paris.  I think it may have been built just for the view from the roof.  There may be some other reasons as well, but they couldn’t be as interesting.



A view of Paris from the top of Tour Montparnasse.  Somehow Paris will always be.  It’s like a memory you never want to forget.

Wednesday Night at Harbour Lights

Arnold Schwarzenegger is killed in a nightclub.  After a few moments, he wakes up and shoots everyone.  I take a sip of my gin and tonic and turn my attention away from TERMINATOR and back to Instagram.  New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder has posted a photo of insoles from her ballet shoes.

To my left, I hear, “I could do the ‘t’ and the ‘c.’”  “You could do the ‘c,’ eh?”  The bartender is playing Scrabble with two young women drinking mixed drinks at the bar, neither of which look like they could do a pirouette.

The insoles are toe-to-heel, one parallel to the other.  Ashley Bouder starts the comments with, “At least someone is hitting a perfect fifth today.”

The Scrabble game is interrupted by a woman who has just walked in.  Her hair is pulled up and back, into a pony tail.  She is selecting her words carefully, articulating each with the precision of a ballerina dancing en pointe.  “I’m . . . wanting . . . to . . . have a draw . . . of Anchor Steam.”  Arnold is wreaking havoc in a police station.  The bartender, “Actually, the Anchor Steam just exploded.”  He turns to a man in a hoodie and blue jeans, sitting on a barstool.  “Ryan!  Check on the Anchor Steam.”  Ryan gets up to go change the keg.  Back to the girl with the Love Missile F1-11 hair.  “A jar . . . of . . . Sierra Nevada.”  “All right.  And we’ll know about the Anchor Steam as soon as Ryan gets back.”

“@ahsleybouder I thought you wore Freed not Bloch?  Hopefully those are insoles from flat shoes . . .:-)”  Ashley Bouder replies, “I wear Bloch”

Two heavyset women in sweaters and jeans are at the bar before anyone can make a play in Scrabble.  The bartender asks to see their IDs.  They are either amused or annoyed by this; it’s hard to tell from their expressions.  “Any shot specials?” one asks.  “Single and double specials.”  “Two Jagerbomb shots.”  Then, to her friend, “Fuckin’ Wednesdays.”

Arnold puts on his sunglasses.  Love Missile F1-11 is back at the bar.  The bartender is on it.  “ . . . All this fresh new Anchor Steam we have.”

“What kind of Bloch do you wear?”  “I thought most company members wore freed?  Special order?”  “@ashleybouder hahaha apparently the awareness that you wear blochs has torn a hole in the space time continuum!!”

The Terminator is still on the hunt for Sarah Connor.  I’m done with my gin and tonic.  It’s time to go home.