Friday, August 3, 2012

Sleepless in Paris...

Why so grumpy?

Contemplation [4]
 You would be grumpy too, if you didn't get any sleep...

We have Wildlife.  In all manner of form and style.  You might think that Paris would be a Wildlife waste land.  It is not.  Paris is, after all, a rather large diverse city, but I can assure you it's filled with Wildlife.

First, there are birds.  Lots and lots of birds.  Black birds (which are not the same variety we used to have in the States), Blue Martins (who continually clean the skies of small nasty winged biting critters), a large collection of extremely amorous Doves (there's another story here waiting to be told), the usual Pigeons (airborne pests typically found in large cities like this), and a wonderfully large selection of small colorful birds that feed on insects.  Oh, and to keep things interesting, we have bats too.  They seem to work the night shift.

Then there are the dogs.  Some time I will have to write a blog entry devoted to Paris' dogs.  Suffice it to say here, dogs represent a very large portion of Paris' Wildlife population.  My favorite breed is the goofy way-too tail waggy happy to be True Parisian long wire haired Dachshunds.  If I ever needed a dog, it would be this one.

Then there is the Human Wildlife.  Young people who have no place to "hang out" and grow up roam the streets in packs.  Older Adult Drunken Wildlife seems to enjoy stumbling around the city after the tourists are safely stored in their hotels and rented apartments.  Like dogs, the Older Adult Drunken Wildlife prefer to mark their territory by pissing on key landmarks.

Your mouth is full of insects, so now you're quiet???

We have learned to keep Paris Time.  We get to bed later than we used to when living back in the States.  Dinner is now after 19h00, sometimes closer to 20h00.  Bedtime is typically 23h00 or later.

When I was a Working Stiff, my wife and I were up at the crack of dawn.  05h00 for her and 05h30 pour moi.  I was out the door and at the local bus stop or on the bike by 07h00 with me arriving into work at 07h50-ish.  Dinner was at 18h00 and bedtime came at 21h30.  It was a well ordered life and the calls of  Wildlife were generally soft and sweet sounding to the ear.  Except for when a Murder of Crows would descend on us.

Now that je suis a la retraite, one might think that keeping later hours would lead, quite naturally, to waking up later.  In theory, that might have been the case and we would be well rested and enjoying our retraite. Yet, when we spent three months on rue Beethoven, we were sleepless in Paris.

Many nights we would keep the windows open, trying our best to capture the cool night breezes.  Alas, the Wildlife loved to capture the night breezes by sitting on the stairs just below our windows.  100 stairs, in fact.  In prior postings I have referred to the stairs as the "Stair Master from Hell!"  It was a good place for Wildlife to sit as a breeze would usually move up the street from the Seine.  It would then climb the stairs and head up over the hill in Passy to make it's way toward la place d'Etoile and through the tall arch of the Arc de Triomphe.

The French flag needed waving and the rue Beethoven Night Breezes were happy to comply.  The local Wildlife was well ventilated.

The Human Wildlife would eventually find it's way to sleep somewhere else in the city by 02h00.  We would be deep into REM sleep, enjoying the peace, quiet, and upper-class calm of Passy.

Merde!  What is THAT?

Why, it's only our 05h30 alarm clock, my wife would tell me.

 05h00 alarm clock ~ Black Bird Singing Competition

Ugh.  Me thinks I need a proper French weapon to bag myself a few Black Birds.  I'd love to say that we'll be having Black Bird Pie for dinner.  But with my luck, I'd aim at the wrong thing and something would break over at the International School for Children with Rich Parents.   I'd hate to have to explain to la police that the Black Birds were driving me crazy.   Maybe la police would understand my plight?  Nah.  It's better to take no chances.  I'm already on their books for taking photographs of la tour Eiffel.

Now that we are into our new place, down in the 15th, life has become more peaceful.  During les conges annuels (les vacances en aout), the Wildlife here is limited to a pair of nesting doves in a tree just outside our window.

Mercifully, they keep to themselves and don't stir things up the way Wildlife did up in the 16th.


  1. Well, at least the black birds actually sing! We poor sods left behind in Portland get to listen to the hordes of crows fanning out from their roost before daybreak, screaming at each other like soon-to-be-drunken sailors. And then listen to the young crows scream at their parents all day long for not feeding them anymore. And then listen to the hordes of crows flocking back to their roost in the evening.

    And *then*, on Friday and Saturday nights, we get to listen to the mechanical flying beast (either some gov't plane or perhaps a Google mapping drone) circle overhead for hours and hours and hours.

    So, songs or ... Hmmm.

    1. You are right! I'd already forgotten about the Crows of Portland. Noisy lot, those guys.

      I wonder what's up with the aircraft? It's not one of those military drones keeping an eye on things, is it? LOL!