23 March 2008
When the night has come
Last Monday, St. Patrick's Day, I met a friend for dinner at one of my recent haunts, Les Deux Singes in the Xe. Sometime between our plat and dessert (the crème brûlée is good), a man with a guitar sits down at a table next to us and begins playing. Frankly, distracting and kind of annoying. When he's finished, or so I think, he goes around with a hat, and I begrudge a 2 euro coin. At Les Deux Singes, you can have a glass of red wine for 2€. We soon learn his name (Ben), he learns ours (Ann, Gabriella), how many years he's played the guitar (twenty-nine years). Of course, he wants us to sing. Just as I learned the piano for nine years and can't play anything from memory, I can't sing any songs from memory, save for a few lines from my library of "Alternative" music. I doubt he knows Feist. Je ne peux pas, je ne sais pas les mots (I cannot, I do not know the words), I keep telling him. But he doesn't believe me. Gabriella has already claimed she doesn't sing. But, a couple of drinks later, he gets what he wants. Gabriella, another friend who has joined us, and I are singing Ben E. King's Stand By Me together. Among the three of us, we knew the words and turned some heads, although mostly shady ones. Long live Monday nights in Paris.