The breakfast room at Le Citizen Hotel in Paris is full of lattes and croissants and yogurt that tastes like they have a cow on speed-dial and books like this one:
Translation, as confirmed by a dear friend who studied French: “Why do we live if we are going to die?”
I love children’s books–especially picture books–and this one got to me. Not in an “weeping uncontrollably on the bus while reading Charlotte’s Web” kind of way, but close to that.
In the book, a child asks the title’s question of her relatives. In response, they each list tiny little slivers of their lives. To write a poem. To love a book. To inflate balloons. To look for your keys. To pet a cat. To hug. To blow out candles.
An online synopsis refers to each family member’s list as “une énumération à la Prévert.” Apparently this is an idiom meaning “list of random stuff,” and it refers to the poem Inventaire by Jacques Prévert?
Where is this expression in English? I feel like I need it in order to describe every thought I have all day long.
And I have not been able to stop thinking about this book. So I started my own list. You will not be surprised that food features prominently.
To make a serious attempt to survive only on pizza and multivitamins.
To train a parakeet to say “Jim, I’m a doctor, not a parakeet!”
To listen to this mashup of Taylor Swift and Aphex Twin songs because, as its creator argues, “Aphex Twin is as big a romantic cornball as Taylor Swift” and “Taylor Swift is as scary as Aphex Twin.”
To watch a baby seal sun itself on the dock. To learn that the clouds are moving, and that they always have been, and that for a long time, the air was too dry for you to notice.
To suffer from “stomach freeze” after scarfing down horchata shaved ice covered in strawberry Pocky and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
To wonder how in tarnation they got it to taste like that and be that color.
To wear shiny shoes.
To admire and agree with the graffiti in the ladies’ room.
To construct and/or play a Calliope. (This particular model was banned for a time because it allegedly was audible more than 11 miles away.)
To learn about Invisibilia.
To laugh hysterically because Aretha Franklin once received second billing as “daughter of.”
To be kind, because over time, kindness moves the needle to full.
To cry, not because you are sad, but because you are human.
To ponder whether you should risk medicating away that feeling.
To sort-of-medicate away that feeling by eating a cretzel.
To feel a lump in your throat and hope that it is the beginning of a poem, like Robert Frost said.
To try it. To see what happens.
Oh. Also, to read Henhouse Magazine.