The macabre painting above is hanging in the Louvre in Paris. It is small, perhaps less than 2X2, 4ft off the ground and very easy to miss except you ask yourself “Is that a dead cat?” just as it enters the corner of your eye and you take a closer look. It is, indeed, a dead cat. The painting is called “Le Chat Mort”, and it was painted by Théodore Géricault in 1820. He also has a couple of paintings of guillotined heads and a series on insane people. The French Revolution produced a lot of weird shit.
It completely encapsulates a day in my life, just one month ago.
My husband dropped me off from what was the best IEP meeting we have yet had regarding our son. He was getting A’s and B’s in his classes and reading on grade level. He can be unshackled from some of the remedial crap that has held him back and take real classes like Literature and Chemistry and Geometry. I stepped through the bedroom doorway and my life changed. On the floor, dead, was a cat. I couldn’t even tell which one. Right next to it looking up at me was a dog with a red face. I will not soon forget that scene. I screamed for 25 minutes for a time and called my husband back. The room smelled like blood and I was still screaming. There was no way I could deal with this.
I have necrophobia. I cannot deal with dead things in person. Cemeteries make me insanely uncomfortable. I only go to funerals of close relatives and I try to stay in the back while the insane go up and take a good look at the departed. It showed up when I was nine and attended my grandfather’s funeral. My doctor only gave me 45 days of Xanax for being in the presence of a dead cat; I have to make them count.
I went outside to keep screaming without the presence of a dead cat and the smell of blood and my husband pulled up and took some measure of control of the situation and figured out which cat was gone. It was our beautiful white cat, Baghul. No longer white. No longer beautiful. One month later, as I write this, I still can’t bring myself to love that dog any longer and I don’t really want to. He Iooks up at me inquisitively, as if wondering why my indifference. I want my cat back, motherfucker, and then we can talk.
This was just two weeks before my son’s finals and our Paris trip. We told him when he got home. He cried for hours and picked the last of my roses and put them on his grave. Everything became “just get through this and we will be in Paris”! Sure enough, we made it through the two weeks until vacation and my son was able to perform well on his finals and hang onto his grades. We boarded the plane and off we went to Paris to write some new memories over the very bad one of our beloved cat.
I miss Paris. You can’t possibly see everything you want to see. A norovirus ran through the entire group, causing each of us to lose an active day. I will spare you the gory details. We spent Christmas Day in the Eiffel Tower freezing our asses off. We went to Versailles, where I ate steak tartare for the first time. That shit is delicious. You come away from Versailles understanding perfectly, the French Revolution. Versailles is way closer to Paris than we’d thought.
The only negative I can think of was the cold and rainy weather. And, of course, spending 10 days with the same people, including an unhappy baby. Eventually, shit’s going to happen. Our barge had some inadequacies, but I easily overlook that kind of stuff even if others don’t. I mean you are LIVING ON THE SEINE. I would do it again exactly the same way. One of our bags never left Charles de Gaulle and only returned to us after we got back to Atlanta. It had its own kind of Parisian adventure. Half our shit was in there, but we made do. It took a few days to figure out all of the French appliances.
I would say that the highlights of the trip were Versailles, Monmartre and the Louvre. You could spend a week with just the Louvre and Versailles. My niece wanted us to go to the catacombs with her, but that was obviously out of the question. The Arc de Triomph is way more impressive in person than in pictures. The Metro and busses will get you anywhere. There is a Five Guys burgers on the Champs Elysees. A Quarter Pounder really is called a Royal with Cheese.
Somehow, I managed to lose 3lbs. I just didn’t get that hungry even though according to one of our groups’ app we walked 40 miles.
Ok, the Mona Lisa. She has never impressed me. The painting is pretty small and she is in a room full of floor to ceiling paintings much more impressive. Throngs of people fight to get close. “Where is Mona?”, crooned Nick Cave in the opening to “15 Feet of Pure White Snow”. She is taking selfies with tourists at the Louvre.
So let’s hear some songs about:
- Art – Paris is full of it. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a painting, sculpture, or jewel-encrusted knick-knack that caused the French Revolution.
- France – French music and music by French artists.
- Weird Shit – Théodore Géricault deserves to emerge from obscurity and be embraced for the weird mofo that he obviously was. Why should Van Gogh get all the credit?
Here is the playlist this week:
And your dedications!
Santino – Art School Girl
Thrill – Je t’aime… moi non plus
WVR – Et si tu n´existais pas
Grendel – A Good Man Is Hard To Find