As readers of this blog are well aware, my wife and I have a little apartment on the left bank in Paris, half a block from the Seine catty corner from what is now, alas, a shattered Notre Dame. We were scheduled to make a short trip to our apartment at the end of February during the UNC spring break, but the virus arrived in Paris and in an excess of caution I canceled our trip. It now looks as though it will be next summer before we can return and I miss it terribly. Every time I see a movie set in Paris I search for signs of streets or shops that I know and my heart swells with pleasure when I spot one.
Yesterday I was passing the time watching a 1991 movie on Netflix called Company Business with the unlikely starring combo of Gene Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Most of the movie takes place in Washington and Berlin but the end of the movie is set in Paris. There were scenes on one or another of the bridges across the Seine, several of which I have walked across many times. And there is a long sequence in and on the Eiffel Tower. But very near the end, Gene Hackman spends the night in a hotel and when he leaves the next morning he turns right to walk up the street. As he did that, I thought to myself “that looks familiar” and sure enough the next moment I saw a little restaurant three doors down from the hotel called The Tea Caddy. I whooped in delight. The Tea Caddy is one of our favorite places to go. It is run by an English lady, as the name suggests, and offers an assortment of teas and coffees and light lunches. It is right around the corner from a famous tourist attraction, Shakespeare and Company, and across the street from Square René Viviani, famous principally for being home to what is said to be the oldest tree in Paris.
My oddest movie – Paris – recognition experience occurred when Susie and I were watching Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris. When the opening credits are rolling on the screen, one sees a series of brief shots of famous sites in Paris. Among them is one of the movie complexes in Place de l’Odéon. We were actually seeing the movie in that theater and when it appeared on the screen the entire audience let out a shout of recognition. It was the next best thing to having a walk on part in the movie.
Well, none of this has anything at all to do with the election. North Carolina started sending ballots out on Friday and I am waiting for mine to arrive. Apparently, once you send your absentee ballot in you can go online and find out whether it has been received. You can also take it to an early voting site and just feed it through the machine. One way or another, I will make absolutely sure that my vote counts. By the way, I saw an interview with the woman who runs the election bureau in North Carolina and she said that they start counting the absentee ballots when they arrive, so she expects that on election night 90% or more of the results will be reported. I am still convinced that the nightmare scenario been so widely discussed is unlikely to occur, according to which the early reports show Trump winning the Electoral College and declaring victory before the absentee ballots have been counted. I am convinced people are so eager to vote that the flood of absentee ballots expected will actually come in early, not on the days after election day. To be sure, in that same interview the person in charge of the Michigan elections was asked and she said they were not allowed to start counting absentee ballots until election day itself so she thought it would be the better part of a week before they knew the results.
Sigh. This post was supposed to be a momentary escape from the anxiety of the election but it crept in nonetheless.