Aboard the Train a Grand Vitesse (TGV), Paris to Cannes

This train is bound for glory, Spencer Bohren sings in my headphones as I begin today’s Chronicles. So I’ll go with that. Deb is working on crochet, Darlene is reading a mystery. This train is built for speed, it’s the fastest train that you ever did see…whooh-whooh. We zoom past thirsty-looking low trees and distant, misted mountains in our speed-bubble, returning home to Cannes with sore feet. This train don’t carry no gamblers, no hypocrites, no midnight ramblers, this train is bound for glory… Last night I talked Darlene into taking a late boat ride on the Seine. We had one of the long Bateaux Mouches nearly to ourselves and didn’t get back to the hotel until midnight. The Eiffel Tower, its girders lit so they looked like lace, seemed an even more preposterous but exactly right creation than it appears during the day. It’s no wonder that on Monday we saw soldiers prowling beneath it with their fingers on the triggers of machine guns, looking for anyone who might be tempted to topple the one building in the world that most perfectly says, “Paris.” Long may it stand, along with the artistic types, my people, who first greeted it with such horror that they staged protest lunches in the tower’s Jules Verne Restaurant, the only place in Paris where they didn’t have to look at the damn thing. The builders of towers and the mockers, the artists and the politicians, the sleepers and the midnight boat riders: in my smooth train vibe, we’re all on the TGV today, bound for glory–or at least for Cannes.

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