Well, I’ve been getting some feedback, as I suspected I would. Some of it witty. Some of it equivocating. But there were a couple or so of you who, indeed, find these entries a tad on the long side… First response is, tough noogies, as we say over here in Provence. Second response is, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Third response is, well, what better have you got to do—like I’m keeping people from something—and if something, go do it. This is a free service. Despite what you think it’s still a free country. I mean that sincerely, whether you’re here or there, or should I say, state-side or in LBF (la belle France).
Others of you, the few who have written and I am appreciative more than I can say, so I won’t, have been approbative and encouraging, without an ounce of condescension. One of you, shall I say D— (no names, and I know I’ll get crap about that from S—) has even been, in part, inspired, because I think she was thinking of doing it anyway, to start her own blog.
She wrote, having begun to look into the notably painless process of doing so (you think if it was difficult there would be so many freakin’ blogs?), that there seemed possibly to be something in it for me:
“they ask for a referral code. Do you get some marvelous benefit for referring me? A free car? A side-by-side refridgerator freezer filled with eskimo pies? In any case, I didn’t want you to miss the boat. Let me know!!”
Aside from shaming some of you, if that’s even remotely possible, I also thought this toughtful gesture needed thorough investigation as soon as possible. The result of this exhaustive study is contained in my reply to D—, which follows forthwith, and will constitute the remaining substance of this blog entry. It is, in fact, not only about referrals to new blog subscribers, but continues to have as its motif, life in France:
So I looked into the referral thing, and, as one would expect from life in the modern era (the "oughts" or, alternatively, especially if you’re British, the "nils" or, finally, particularly if you are part of Generation X, Y, Z or the first four letters of the Greek alphabet, once we get past "Z," the "zeroes") it’s complicated and moral, which is the classical definition of the comedic mode, speaking in terms of the traditional canon and Aristotelian principles of mimetic art. And you know how I love the comedic mode.
But it all got too difficult and then I went wildly clicking on reset buttons and buttons to close browser windows, and finally the browser itself because I couldn’t take anymore of all this really ponderous, tedious, long-winded prose, which, as you may know, is a subject that causes great anxiety in me (look up, in the Howard Index: conditions which cause anxiety, because Howard may be the cause of them himself through uncontrolled compulsive behavior).
The bottom line, as we like to say in business, from which I know you recently retired, on a trial basis (ha ha "trial"…) and I really am not trying to cause any anxiety in you by saying things that, like, bring back bad memories, anyway, the bottom line is, I get three bucks, if I accept these terms, and those policies, and give away far too much private information about myself in the process, and there’s something about "advertising" and "negative account balances," both of which I find to be loathsome concepts, and I would never accept them, and allow people to link to this TypePad Web site of mine so they can sign up for a "trial" (ha ha) subscription themselves.
And three bucks is three bucks it’s true, but over here, three bucks buys you two euros, more or less, and for two euros, you get a really really cold Coca-Cola (un Coca, and isn’t that nice and kind of amazing it’s the same word? If you want a Diet Coke, it’s un Coca Light, again, amazingly, say it just like English, only as if you had something wadded in your nose at the same time, or as if you were just sniffing a lot of really mature very fresh lavender blossoms really really close — why they don’t say "Diet" in French, I don’t know; maybe it’s like a slangy really dirty word, you know something to say to Zidane in the middle of a World Cup soccer final: "Hey Zizou, your mother really should go diet… and maybe your sister too…").
Now I never drink Coke, unless it’s disgustingly hot, and I’ve had four of them since we got here, so you know how hot it can get. But I don’t feel like a Coke right now, even up here on the third floor, which gets not only disgusting hot, but beastly hot, almost like you were in England or something and it was that hot. Part is because we got this big floor fan and it’s going like crazy on its highest speed, and it really works really well. And part is because it’s been thundering outside for about ten minutes, which is the promise of cooling off, but kind of a hollow promise, because the sun is still blazing out there… I can see all this really bright sunlight out the window, and the cicadas (in French, les cigales) are really chirping like mad, it’s a kind of really grindy, sandpapery chirp, with no high tones, just rapid grating, which they only do if it’s really hot. They chirp, they stop, they chirp, they stop. If it hits the disgusting beastly level of hotness they do it non-stop. But anyway, under these conditions at present, no Coke is necessary.
Of course two euros will also buy you a nice little Pastis, which is that Provençal liqueur that smells badly of anise or licorice, but which is mighty good, and mighty cheap, and gets you some ice cubes and a big pitcher of water (pichet de l’eau) so you can either or both keep your drink cool longer and dilute the pastis, which is pretty strong medicine (some Americans think it tastes like medicine — I don’t; I love licorice) taken straight. Anyway, diluted or not, they don’t actually give you too much pastis for two euros. I mean, compared to American bars, it’s a bargain (especially given your typical pastis is 90 proof), but it’s no sweet little buzz, never mind a good drunk. For that you need at least ten euros spent fairly quickly, shall we say? And in the middle of Provence, the heart of the heart of the country we might say, in the middle of summer, where it’s always on the verge of getting, and not only because of the superfluity of Brits around here (which you can blame on a strong Pound Sterling, which is even stronger than the euro, which, see above, re: dollar to euro conversion) beastly hot, you don’t do anything too quickly. Nothing. Not even drink. Unless it’s beer. Maybe.
So, I’ll just forget about this big commission of three dollars, US (two euros, uh, EU, I guess), and advise you to just start up what I know will be that sweet little blog of yours. For one thing, I know it will be a lot shorter every day to read.
PS You know, reading this over, I think it’s so good, I’m going to put it on my own blog. How’s that? So you can even skip that entry, in case you don’t feel like having that déja lu (that’s a pun, in French, see?… lu is past participle of lire, the verb "to read") feeling. And then you’ll also be the envy of at least two other people, and maybe as many as over a hundred.