Today was the first day I rode my bike from the new apartment to my “real” job. Nice ride through the rotunda at the Bastille, down St. Antoine, past the Louvre, Concorde, Assemblee Nationale, and the Eiffel Tower. As I passed Invalides, I noticed a proliferance of Israeli flags flapping in the breeze, but I didn’t think much of it. On my way home, crossing through Concorde, there were cops everywhere. I happened to be sporting my “Nazi Cop” look and I was fairly certain that the cops were all paying way too much attention to me. As I rolled past the Opera House, I noticed more Israeli flags, more cops, and more suspicious eye contact. Then I realized that there was some kind of state visit going on. And that I was biking through French police barricades in a “German flag” jacket. Jews, Nazis, WWII. Not a good combo. Maus, Art Speigelman, etc.
When Karl Gilkey was here we talked a lot about our shared practice of saying random French phrases aloud as we walked down the street. The thing is, because it’s not your first language, or even a language you speak, it doesn’t seem that weird when you’re doing it. But when you wander through the Marais saying “Juif, Juif, Juif,” to yourself, it’s not so good. A few weeks ago I caught myself riding my bike near Ecole Militaire saying, “Ecole Militaire, Ecole Militaire, Ecole Militaire,” loud enough for people to hear me ... daccor.
The photo which accompanies this post was taken in Prague at Château Rouge by Peter Pop, this guy from New York who thought I was a Czech cop.