My nine-hour plane trip brought me to my mother's house.
1. My mother's house is in a land of palms and pines, live oaks and Spanish moss. Chirping cardinals and nuthatches at the bird feeder.
It is also a land of beige houses, manicured lawns, and signs that say "Speed Limit 17-1/2 MPH."
And leaf blowers.
I'd forgotten about leaf blowers. Paris now has a few automatic street sweepers, but mostly the streets are still swept by the "green men" who run the water in the gutters and sweep them clean with their green booms. Not much sound there.
My hero James Thurber once wrote in a short story about men with chainsaws cutting down trees to build insane asylums for people driven crazy by the sound of chainsaws cutting down trees.
I feel the same about leaf blowers. Can't we just rake?
2. I'd forgotten how easily strangers strike up conversations here in the US. In Paris when I'm by myself I'm accustomed to standing silently in line or on the metro and making my observations but not sharing them with anyone.
When I got off the plane in Atlanta and was waiting for luggage, when I was on the monorail in between terminals, when I was in line to rent a car, random PEOPLE WERE TALKING TO ME! It almost knocked me off my feet at first. Just lighthearted banter, but also sharing all the details of what they were planning for their vacation, where they worked. Just chit chat.
It's not better or worse; just very, very different.
3. I love being in the comfort zone of having temperature in Fahrenheit. I'm still working on feeling Celsius in my bones.
4. Stay tuned for updates on "bumper stickers you won't see in France, part 2."
5. Starbucks Wifi access is my new best friend. Please be patient as I try to keep up with comments and posts.