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The Light Switch, by jenny davis

Submitted by on April 30, 2010 – 3:04 amComments

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It’s the equivalent of a summer blockbuster hit I was the last girl on Earth to see. If I had a Euro for every woman who swooned at the mention of my upcoming Parisian vacation, put a hand to her chest in the general vicinity of an aching heart, tilted her head back, closed both eyes and swooned, “Ah, Paris, you’re going to love it there,” I’d have enough to reimburse my dad for the trip.  I’m back from the City of Light and now home, can’t find the light switch!  What do you do with your real-life when a vacation has changed your perspective?

I approach Hollywood blockbusters skeptically just like I did the promise of “loving Paris.” (And I live in Hollywood so you can imagine how my days go).  In Paris I found: the designer, the fashion-lover, the visual artist and, the little girl afraid of getting lost in a foreign country, (just a side note). In LA I live on a totally different tempo. I know my way around, wake up and go to work then go home and go to sleep, and this auto pilot attitude helps me survive this city. My job kind of depends on it, working as an assistant. Taking me off that setting in Paris was like, wheels screeching, metal scraping metal. I had a migraine for the first four mornings until literally waking up out of my stupor and not wanting to sleep at all.

How do I combine the Me I met in Paris with the auto pilot secretary I’ve become? The women in Paris embody a kind of femininity which includes not excludes, curves, natural beauty, style and time spent creating it, womanhood, conversation, opulence. Friends gather by the river for wine and to hang out just for fun…not for any other reason. They don’t need a reason other than that.   And the cafes, oh the cafes. The experience is so different from our Starbucks, to-go, lifestyle here. And The American expats I dined with, writers in their fifties told me, We stay in Paris because here, we are still beautiful for our age, not despite it.

It boils down to this: I wore a pair of cardboard slipper-shoes to walk along the Seine and through museums, every day. The shoes didn’t bother me a bit. But when I put them on at home, the flat thin soles wore my feet out in twenty minutes. And I’m talking, aching, aching pain. I walked on air it seems, in Paris. If the old shoes don’t fit, literally, maybe it’s time to expand the idea of what’s comfortable? Maybe it isn’t living on auto pilot but seeing new things, that lifts us up.

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