bit of life

I'm a fierce partisan of Paris. Yet, there is something funny about Paris in the heat. In Montpellier, where we just spent around two weeks, the heat was familiar, southern, and its grammar was full of the commas and semi-colons of breeze. The light on Montpellier buildings highlighted something clear about them, something that made you think that the builder's intended the shadows to fall just so. In Paris, the heat is more cluttered, more dirtying. Yesterday, I was drinking a beer in a cafe near Jussieu and there was a little heat-driven contretemps between the waiter - who was a boy of around 20 - and one of those middle aged men with the kind of slinky beachtan that makes them irresistably untrustable. The man walked out without paying - the boy came after him - and the man turned to the owner of the place, who was sitting outside, and said he was a regular, and he was going to his car to find his wallet to pay. And then he called the boy a cretin. Which is when I decided a large tip was due. The owner was wonderfully monsieuring, but he got down to brass tacks in the end - you mean, he said, that you came into the place knowing that you didn't have your wallet? I think the cafe lost this regular, but I think the owner enjoyed the loss. So did I. So did the waiter.