My First Sunday Croissants

photo: rue cresson

Here comes the sun, flooding in from the east.

A True Story About Dreamland

Paris:- Sunday, 25. July 1999:- I wake up before the alarm clock goes off. I must be excited about living in Paris. I don't notice the absence of the bubbling creek and I don't remember to listen for birds.

It is quiet, but then it is after the 15th of July. Last night there were few lights in windows when I took a tour of the deserted block around 10. Could be, on higher floors everybody is looking at the TV but I doubt it.

The shower's hot water is a thrill again even though the temperature has risen, and will go up to near 30 later today. According to last night's TV-weather, it will stay this way for a few days more.

I think this is my first Sunday wake-up in Paris; it is, in the summer at least. The thing to find out, what I want to know - are boulangeries open? Can I get a fresh-out-of-the-oven croissant? Maybe two.

Croissants are not my favorite. I have them in Spain occasionally, but usually I'm a toast guy. For today I'vephoto: croissants gotten a small block of real butter and four pots of jam, including blackberry, which is hard to find. I have other stuff too but no café yet.

Tough choice - croissants with or without butter?

I haven't had a café in several days. If it's addictive, I have no withdrawal symptoms. I like it though. Making it at home, I can have triple expresses without it costing as much as a six-pack of fake beer. The price in Paris for a thimble of café in a bar is outrageous - about a dollar. About the value of a Euro or a litre of unleaded super.

I've seen a nifty toaster which has a matching café machine, so I'll probably get both. It'll be my moving-in present. The café machine makes 10 cups I think; which equal three of 'my' cups.

Quit dithering and go out. The 10:15 morning sun is pelting down my street. During the week I've already spotted about nine boulangeries within two blocks, but since there's one - an 'artisan boulanger' - two-thirds up my block, I'll see if it's open.

It is. Has croissants without butter and with. I have good Normandy butter, so I take two without. They each cost less than a cup of café.

Behind the glass counters there is all the bread making equipment. It looks like they could make pizzas a metre in diametre, but what do I known about bread machinery? The industrial bakery where I once worked nightshift looked like it was a paint dryer for cars.

I am so busy looking at all this I don't notice the guy gives me two of his midget croissants. The butter ones did look bigger, maybe to justify their higher price. It doesn't matter; being able to get them on Sunday morning is what counts. In this weather I could come out here to get some wearing my pajamas and sandals, if I had either.

On the way back I pop into the coin laundry, to see how long a cycle is. Their industrial machines will do a load in 35 minutes - compared to my home model which takes about 90. The differencephoto: view from coin laundry is the across-the-street price of 22 francs for a load, compared to my soap, softener, water and power and I don't know how these add up. Using the laundry's dryers for five francs seems like a good deal.

The view of my building from behind the '6 KG - 22F' coin-laundry.

Since this isn't much of a story, I'll throw in the plaque on my building for what it's worth. The graffiti I'd rather not mention. A reader recently did - not on my building - but all over Paris in general. The reader is right - it's all over the place, like some sort of creeping, deranged mental virus.

People should doodle at home, in private. They want to paint noodles on their own walls; who cares? Maybe it should be the penalty - catch a tagger and do a job on his bedroom, using indelible colors of hideous hues. Cruel and unusual punishment.

Just before going in I see that somebody has copped the emptyphoto: plaque charles couyba cartons I put out last night in a little assembly of junk on the sidewalk just down the block. Aha! There was a cute young thing asking for the throwaways last Monday, but she didn't come back for them.

I got another 15 ready to go and I get them and put them out where the others were. Gives me another square metre of floor space. This is my apartment improvement for today.

The four pots of jam I put out with the butter, and I have my croissants. Maybe they aren't as good as the 'butter' ones but it is pretty hard to tell. They make a lot of flakes though, and I have to be careful because I haven't got a broom yet.

Yeah, it is okay. I don't know if it would be better with café. With orange juice certainly, but café - in summer - is optional. But how can I get the toaster, and not its matching café machine? Vexing question, this.

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