Indian Summer

Monday, October 13, 2008

I never knew what an Indian summer was before I came to Paris. You can't watch the meteo on TV without someone mentioning the phrase. What it mostly means to me is that I can get away with wearing my summer-inspired clothing a little longer than I had anticipated, which for my Texan self, is most definitely a good thing. Today, walking into a shoe store in search of a pair of flats (boots? pfff, no boots needed this autumn), the shoe guy looked down at my dirty, t-strap, nude-colored flats with my naked foot peaking out from the sides and said "C'est toujours été, eh?" ["It's still summer, huh?"] Even after having him repeat his rhetorical question, I didn't quite understand what he was trying to say about my shoes and decided to respond with, "non, ils sont pas d'ici," ["non, they're not from here"] pretty much justifying that quizzical look he and his coworker gave each other after I smiled and casually walked off. It took me about three more seconds to finally translate and comprehend what his set of words had to do with my shoes, which also reminded me rather abruptly that French folks like to talk about the weather. In fact, riding up the three-person elevator with my neighbor the other day provided another interesting conversation about how much longer "l'été indien" would last, as well as how disappointing it would be if Obama lost the election (our elevator is obviously a little slow).

When I first arrived here, last November (geesh, nearly a year ago!), there was almost nothing to be done to assuage my body's rejection of the cold. I could barely stand to roll myself out of the warmth of my bed, and I dreaded the thought of leaving the house which required walking to the train station in less-than-freezing temps. Now, even though all the city's vegetation suggests that Autumn has arrived, the gorgeous temps and blue-blue sky suggest otherwise. I'm happy to leave the coats, scarves and boots at home in place of my short-sleeves, jeans and ballet-flats. Yet, I do wonder how much longer this lovely summer will be prolonged.

I've never lived in a place where Fall's presence is ever known - in Austin, Winter seems to come just a day after Summer, and that's not usually before December. I guess it's no wonder all this crazy good weather has got me thinking about life back in Austin - about barbecues and football; happy-hours and brunches. I guess back there, Indian Summers are just called Summer and days of good weather in the months before Christmas are considered the norm. I know I'll surely be missing many things about home come November, but if this Indian Summer holds out until then, I'm glad there'll be one less thing to be nostalgic over.

*updated 10/14 to include video: Thanks, Zhu!


Bernice said...

One evening, I was walking with my mom along the Seine at around 5:30 p.m. when the light had darkened down to that gorgeous, golden-tinged blue. The lights had come up, the traffic was whizzing by, there was the crunch of leaves under foot and it was so beautiful I wanted to cry. Fall in Paris also reminds me of pansies in windowboxes and the smell of the first chestnuts. The months between le rentree and Christmas can be breathtaking.

Zhu said...

Indian summer in France? Hum... I think French are just nostalgic of Joe Dassin! :D

misplaced texan said...

Bernice: What a beautiful memory! Thanks so much for sharing it...I'm looking forward to the day when I can share the simple beauty of this city with my close family, too.

Zhu: Joe Dassin?? Never heard of him 'til I googled his name and found a great video of the song on Youtube...which I'm attaching to this post right now! It makes so much sense now why France is in love with the term Indian Summer...brilliant - thanks!!

Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

I am seriously enjoying this as well! Well put lady...

Though I'm not sure I can believe you didn't know Joe Dassin... ;)

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