Monday, March 23, 2009

I interrupted my blogging for a few days for the best of reasons: a visit from an old friend. I hasten to add that E. is not and does not look old- she's gorgeous. It's our friendship that is longstanding.

When I arrived at Everett Junior High on a fall day in 1977, I didn't count on finding many friends. I was very tall (a head above any boy in the class), glasses-wearing and extremely bookish. In short, I was a geek. Little did I know that I would quickly find an ally- a tall, frizzy-haired girl even smarter than me.

She's the one who figured out the secret to the answers to the multiple choice quiz in English class. Being a true pal, she caught my attention during the test and mouthed "Opera" at me, pointing down at the paper. Sure enough, my first few correct answers spelled out T O S C A. So, after answering all the questions I was sure of, I was easily able to fill in all the others. Aida and Die Fledermause, I believe, were the other keys.
When E. handed in her quiz, she couldn't resist a quiet remark to the teacher "So, you like opera, huh?" Wicked girl. His face fell, poor man. He'd thought he was so clever...
From E. I learned to revel in my geekhood.

Our many adventures are too numerous to recount in a single blog post. I could write a book, srsly.

E. moved away three years later. We wrote for a while, but then lost touch until the magic of the internet got us back together again about five years ago. She ended up coming to visit me in Burkina and we had a great time.

This time around, she arrived in Paris from her home in NYC, looking for a job. After attending to that small task, she left Paris on Friday and came to visit us here in the Haute Savoie.

On Saturday, I took E. and my girls all in to Geneva for a day in the big city. It was E's first time in Switzerland, so she was keen to go, despite the fact that her Parisian pals had warned her that Geneva is "very boring and full of Swiss people". We ended up wandering the streets of the old Town- the ancient walled heat of the city. We took in a couple of museums- which was good, as otherwise we would have frozen to death. It was a freezing cold and windy day.

I tried to take pictures, but somehow nothing went right. I had them all posed in front the the imposing St. Peter's cathedral and kept pushing the button, but my phone refused to make that "click" sound that means it actually took a photo. I stood there fussing with the thing, cursing and grumbling as the wind whipped at us mercilessly. It seemed to be stuck in "movie" mode and I couldn't figure out how to make it take photos. I'd click a few buttons, try to take a photo, fail, curse and then try again. This went on for a while.

Instead of photos, I ended up with a series of avant-garde short films. That's what I tried to tell Ellen and the kids, anyway. "I meant to film the sidewalk and the front of my coat. That shot of my button is masterful and full of meaning. Don't you agree? "

E. just shook her head pityingly as Valentine gently pried the phone out of my hands. She pressed a button and handed it back to me. It was back in camera mode, just in time to get a few pictures of. ... our visit to the Geneva branch of Starbucks. Very exciting.

On Sunday, we went for a walk in the mountains. The camera worked fine.

Today I took E. to the train station at noon. She has another job interview there before heading back to NYC on Tuesday. I am SO hoping that she gets offered a great job. It would be great to see her more often than once every five years!


La Framéricaine said...

How lovely to have a friend from the very distant past visit from time to time to keep the golden thread of your relationship running though the fabric of your daily life in far flung places (relative to its beginnings, that is). You all look as if you are having a chilly but wonderful time together!

Rick said...

Gosh, I can't believe it. She still looks almost exactly the SAME. It's amazing. It seemed as though you two were destined to be bff. Who knew??? Decades later and a hemisphere away... asig.
Love, Mom

oreneta said...

Avant-garde film making is very cool you know...and so should Valentine...I love the French comment about Geneva...who else would it be full of but Swiss people????

Kelly said...

I love the internet for that reason--finding old friends.

I am flying to Paris in September and my friend in Epinal is going to take the train to Paris to see me!