Monday is July 14, and, as you all no doubt know, is Bastille Day, the French version of the 4th of July. I once spent an extraordinary Bastille Day with an old friend from Alaska in Paris, where we sipped champagne on the balcony of my friend Gérard's top-floor flat on a high-rise on Télégraphe. There were fireworks, and the Alaskan, an elementary school teacher, learned the words for numerous colors from a 4-year-old girl as the bombs went off.
You couldn't see Montpellier from there, but nearly, and I expect to spend this Bastille Day watching fireworks in Montpellier along with some folks I know. I'm leaving Berlin in the morning and doing that long train-ride again, although whether I'll walk once again from the Gare d'Est to the Gare de Lyon with M. Patois, a friend from Oakland I hadn't seen in 30-some years is in question: apparently he has an invitation from some female soldiers to ride in a tank with them, an invitation he's extended to me, but...next year.
This year I'm still on a mission. Short of winning the lottery, this is the last trip I can afford to make down there, and a solution must be found. This time, I'm going armed with bank statements and letters from important media outlets, my best clothing ironed sharply, and a very positive attitude.
I'll be there a week, although if it makes economic sense to abort the mission and buy another train ticket back earlier if I find something in time, I will. Money has gotten short, and although there's some coming in, I need to conserve as much as possible in the face of a rapidly declining dollar, which fell three cents against the Euro yesterday. That, and the rising price of gas, are going to have an impact on the last section of this drama, the transcontinental moving-van.
The last trip was, in the end, an expensive learning process. This one, I hope, will just be expensive. Oh, and productive.
Wish me luck. Play the lottery and send me a fraction of your winnings. Go to the Vatican website and find out who the patron saint of Montpellier landlords is and offer him or her a burnt offering. Hey, this time it's war. And I intend to win.