Archive for July 14th, 2001

Bastille Day

Saturday, July 14th, 2001

I had a bad day with my mother yesterday, and before I went to sleep last night I decided to take a walk down to Aquatic Park the next morning. Usually Rufus sleeps in on the weekends, which gives me time to drink coffee, read, write my blog, and things like that. But this morning, he woke up and decided to come with me, which was an added bonus.

It’s a cold, foggy day, so Aquatic Park was mercifully free of tourists. We sat on the shallow stone steps and talked with our arms around each other while we watched the waves roll in and the Polar Bears swimming. The PB’s are human, not ursine, and swim in the cold Bay waters year round, jauntily wearing their neon swimming caps and apparently unconcerned by how bacteria laden the water is. I admire the PB’s but don’t want to emulate them. To our right was Hyde Street Pier, where there are several historic ships. My brother used to work there when he still lived in the City. I noticed that the “Balclutha”, a fine old clipper ship that has sailed around the hazardous Horn many times, was flying the French flag, and I realized today is Bastille Day.

The first time I ever experienced Bastille Day was on my very first trip to France, when I was 17. I spent the whole summer there, the first two weeks in Paris, and the rest in Nice, in the South of France. This is where I got my coffee addiction. And I still remember that summer as a magical one.

On Bastille Day, there were fireworks, of course, but there was also music and dancing in the streets. Total strangers grabbed my hands, danced with me, gave me glasses of wine, and kissed my cheek. It was a joyful celebration and I was so happy to be part of it.

On the way home today, Rufus and I stopped off at Barnes & Noble and of course bought lots of books. Books are one of our vices. This Barnes & Noble is very comfortable, with lots of deep armchairs, couches, fireplaces, and a cafe. Really, you could spend all day there.

Our final stop was at a new French bakery, where we got French bread that tastes pretty close to the real thing. Just our little way of celebrating Bastille Day. After all, the French Revolution was really about bread.