Einstein’s Dreams, Paris – August 15, 2012
Goethe’s dream – the poet J.W. von Goethe wrote, “A dream, a dream is our life here on earth / As foam on the waves / We rise, we fall / We are, but know it not / In the middle of eternity.” Well, if life is a dream, Paris is the part of the dream from which you never want to awaken. Its museums, buildings and public statues are a celebration of love, beauty and art. Take the lady with the golden nipples for example, who, as do many famous and even not-so-famous artists, has a public square dedicated to her memory.
Golden Nipples – Before Madonna and Lady Gaga, the singer and Egyptian born performer Dalida (1933-1987) thrilled Paris with her powerful and colorful performances. A few blocks away from our apartment in Montmartre, we come upon the statue of Dalida in the secluded curve of a cobbled stone square. Devoted aficionados have rubbed the breasts of this bronze bust so often that the nipples have turned the color of gold. At Harvard University, freshmen rub the famously shiny foot of founder John Harvard, paying homage to the American Dream of success. Let’s see: in America you rub the schoolmaster’s foot; in Paris you rub the artist’s nipple. Need I say more?
“All of Me”
Einstein’s Dreams is the title of a delightful book comprised of stories that play loosely on the theory of relativity. In one story, every day when you wake up and go out, you enter a world where all the houses have changed position, so every day you need to figure out anew where you are going. Much like being an eternal tourist. My favorite story is the one where, the farther away from the center of the earth you live, the faster time moves. The lovers all gravitate towards the center, where one kiss can last a thousand years.
All of me – At 7:30 am with Julie still fast asleep, I walk out into the crisp morning air in search of a cappuccino. It is Sunday morning and most cafes are still closed. I find the Café Francoeur open and duck inside. As I relished the warm taste of coffee on my lips, I hear Frank Sinatra crooning “All of me / Why not take all of me / Can’t you see / I’m no good without you…” on the radio. A song I have not heard since I was a kid in New Jersey in the fifties. Suddenly, it is 1944: I am sitting in this same Parisian café dressed in a US Army uniform. “All of Me” is playing on the radio. Einstein’s dream, Goethe’s dream, Eisenhower’s dream and Sinatra’s dream all merge together.
Au revoir Paris, Jerry B. Brown