We’ll Always Have Paris

For a long time, I’ve been obsessed with vintage paintings of Paris. You may have seen the type I’m referring to, the impressionistic ones that look really drippy and weird from up close, but from far away begin to resemble a street full of shops and cafes, with people strolling along, and the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe in the background. I adore them—they’re not expensive and whenever I’m feeling down, I look at one and imagine myself wandering down a rainy Paris rue, and it makes me feel better. The problem is, Ken hates them:

Me: Ooh, look! A Paris painting!
Ken: You already have 10 of the damn things. No more!
Me: But this one would be perfect for my bathroom…

So now, if I see one, I have to promise I’m only buying it to resell it. Which I’ve done a couple of times, but apparently there aren’t many other people as obsessed with Paris paintings as I am, because they tend to sit in my antiques booth for a while. But last weekend, I was in the midst of rearranging furniture in the hope of turning the alcove in our bedroom into a “reading nook”, when it suddenly occurred to me that a Paris painting was exactly what the nook needed, and I knew exactly where to find one. In fact, a painting of the perfect size had been languishing in my booth for several months and I was planning on going there last Sunday afternoon to put some fresh stock in. “This is perfect,” I thought to myself. “I’ll bring it home with me.”

When I arrived, the owner greeted me enthusiastically at the door. “Guess what!” he exclaimed jovially. “You just sold those two Paris paintings, you know, the ones that have been here for months. Literally half an hour ago—you just missed it!”

“No!” I gasped. He looked confused, both of us being in the “selling of things” business, so I had to explain my lack of excitement.

“Never mind,” he said. “I’m sure you’ll find another one.”

The very next day, I did. And it broke my heart.

I was at Goodwill, a charity shop, after work on Monday to drop off some odds and ends from the alcove mentioned above. I was helping the girl unload my car, when suddenly a man sauntered past us through the parking lot. He was CARRYING A PARIS PAINTING. And it was a beautiful one, in an antique frame. I could see the Arc de Triomphe from where I stood, stunned and speechless, box of knick knacks in hand. I cannot accurately convey the sense of horror I felt as I watched him get in his car and drive away, knowing that if I’d been there half an hour earlier AGAIN, the painting would have been mine.

And because I’m a grown-ass woman, I didn’t cry, although I badly wanted to. No, I did what any normal person would do—I called Ken:

Me: The universe hates me! I just missed out on a gorgeous Paris painting by like half an hour!
Ken: Hahahahaha!
Me: Why are you laughing?!

I tell you all of this not to elicit sympathy—in fact, you’re probably thinking Ken was right to laugh, and I really don’t need another painting of a city I’ve never been to—but that’s not the point. The point is, in fact, that the universe is taunting me, and I don’t know why.

Here are some thoughts:

1. The universe hates me.
2. The universe hates Paris.
3. The universe agrees with Ken that I have enough paintings of Paris.
4. The universe doesn’t care about me at all, and things are just random.

But then, as I was writing this on Saturday morning, I happened to glance up and realized that in an obscure corner of my office, there was a small Paris painting hanging there, and wouldn’t it be better placed in the new reading nook than tucked away in a spot where Ken can’t see it? See, I’m nothing if not thoughtful, and maybe the universe loves me after all.

Quilt Update: My wonderful neighbour finished the quilt I had begged her to help me with and it’s gorgeous–Ken and I presented it to Kate, for whom it was always intended, and she loves it. All my neighbour wanted in exchange for her labour and skill was a donation to the local foodbank so I made a big one in her name. And I also bought her a gift card to the liquor store as a personal thank you, because I can imagine after all that sewing, she needs a drink. I sure did.

56 thoughts on “We’ll Always Have Paris

  1. First, let me say that quilt is just beautiful!!I wish I knew how to sew, but I’m sure no matter how much I tired, I’d never be able to accomplish something so beautiful. I’m so happy that Kate loves it!

    As for your Paris painting obsession, the universe doesn’t hate you, it just has a sadistic sense of humor. We all have stuff we think we’re obsessed about, mine is shoes. I can’t help it, I LOVE high heels, and I may not be able to wear them all my life. But, who cares, while I can I’ll look fabulous or try to at least, lol.

    But maybe is should look for something else to be obsessed about like paintings. 😎

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Not sure if Paris would suit the style of my computer room… but I do have an impressionistic squirrel painting hanging on my wall. Bonus, it was done especially for me from another internet friend of mine as a gift! I’m sure it will end up in Goodwill once I’m gone, and someone who was really, really wanting a squirrel painting will just miss out on it…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So you lost a painting but gained a quilt. And also a painting. There’s a Joe Dassin song in there somewhere. In fact as I just started reading this and got a sense of where it was going, or at least a sense of where I thought it was going since I really had no clue, I put on “Aux Champs Elysees” and that provided the perfect background for your rendez-vous dans un sous-sol avec des fous, and what better way to describe a comments section?

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I wonder if the guy who bought the painting has a booth where he sells vintage stuff? Maybe you’ll run into him one day and can actually buy the painting…marked up three or four times as much as he bought it for, of course! The quilt is wonderful. I started quilts when I was forty. Then my eyes changed and I couldn’t see and stopped sewing. Now I have glasses. Was going to work on them again during the pandemic and give them out this year for Christmas. They might have to wait a bit longer since I haven’t got any closer to finishing any of them. Ugh. Mona

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve never been to Paris but I’ve heard enough about Paris to suggest you actually go to Paris because, I’ve heard, going to Paris fixes such fascinations with Paris for all time.

    The quilt is amazing and so, all kidding aside, is the painting. Ken’s amazing, too, so do him a favor and buy a painting of, say, London or Moscow just to remind him that you care. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  6. My wife and I visited Paris for the first and only time ten years ago this October, Suzanne, and we keep a small painting that we bought from a street vendor framed on our wall as a memento. I recall walking down those rainy streets like it was yesterday — even without the painting to remind me! Definitely make sure you and Ken get there for a visit once the pandemic is fully behind us…

    Liked by 3 people

  7. wait a minute – did you redo your site? beautiful! or maybe its just that I’m looking it on my desktop? still lovely! & maybe Ken needs a beret to appreciate the paintings… just sayin’ 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love, LOVE the quilt. It’s beautiful, and looks comfy and warm, perfect for sleeping in on chilly mornings.

    As for Paris paintings, is there such as thing as too many? I think not. I used to work in an art gallery, and one of the featured artists always painted Paris in the rain. Such beautiful works, and the artists was really popular. We sold a lot of her paintings.

    Liked by 2 people

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