Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

30 Days

One month to go.  720 hours.  I don't think I will really believe it until I get off the airliner and realize I am there.

I have been asked various questions.

Why Paris?

Do people really have to ask this?  Of me?  I have been an epicurian since the times back in the small house in deep snow country.  I've never been to Europe.  I'd love to run the bulls. Golf in Scotland.  Fish for trout in Ireland. See London.  Go to Budapest.  Italy. Monaco. San Sebastian. Good old Norway.  But I may get only one run at this.  So there was ever only one choice.

I did not become Paris-aware via Hemingway. Rather, through a slender volume by the great New Yorker essayist A.J. Liebling.  Between Meals.  His autobiography of a gourmand's life in Paris between the wars.  I don't even recall how I came to own this marvelous book.  I do recall that I read it through four times right away.  A literary epiphany.  They have places like this?  Where you can live this way? I'm going.  It only took twenty-five years. 

Why Now?

26.49.  This is what the U.S. government says is my odds bet on remaining years.  Not even to 80! 1.49 years longer than I have been married. And I haven't lived what I would call tamely either.  Oh, what do they know? Still...after her two really awful medical years, my Irish Redhead looked at me firmly last November as we returned from seeing Midnight In Paris and said "you know, if you are going to go, you had better go now".  I brought it up a week later.  She said the very same thing. That's why.

Why Alone?

I didn't plan it that way.  The IR cannot go.  No international travel. Ever. I asked a couple of very select pals who could not go along.  I'm not concerned about travelling alone.  It is almost all I do.  Were I to wait for the perfect travel partner to appear, I would probably never go. Anyhow, the return reader will know that I have a highly refined talent for self-amusement.  I'll be fine. 

Why Not Take Your Son, The Future Rock Star?

"Do I HAVE to go?"  Enough said.  If he wants to go when he is twenty, I'll gladly take him.  When my odds bet is down to 21.49.  We'll be even.

You Speak French?  Don't You?

Absolutely.  I'll wager I speak French as well or better than any other fellow who took a three month, entry level, college course thirty-three years ago. Hey, I passed the course. In any event, I am confident in the power of honest effort, humility, a friendly smile,...and ready money.

Food? Wine? Art? Books?

Well, yes.  And Calvados. Cheese. Macarons. Deux Magots. Taillivent. Closerie De Lilas. Chez Benoit. Vin Sur Vin. Le Grand Colbert. Mona Lisa. Vangende. Orangerie. Jardins. Notre Dame. Shakespeare and Company. And Calvados.

Isn't This Going To Be The Great Adventure Of Your Life?

This rather conflicts with my view of life as adventurecontinuum.  Helen Keller said it is either a grand adventure or nothing.  And my G.A. is ongoing as father/husband.

Still, to the point...I hope not.  And I hope so.

Again, why Paris?

Because, if I am nothing else, I am an incurable romantic. 
Because there has to be an epicenter for incurable romantics.
Because they all were there at one time or another.
Because they will all continue to go there.  Forever.
Because people like them are a tribe unto their own.
Because I want to be like them. If only for nine days.
Because of A.J.  Who wrote that book.  For me.


materfamilias said...

De-lurking after many, many months as a reader, to say Bravo! My husband and I have been doing an annual spring trip to Paris for the past 7 or 8 years (the tradition evolved organically somehow after many years of limited travel while raising kids and my going back to grad school -- first trip was to celebrate defending dissertation). We get asked Why Paris and give many of the same answers (although it's hard to understand the question, really). You'll have a wonderful time, I'm sure, and I look forward to reading about it.

Ben said...

I am getting excited for you. Behind all the stories you've told so far, and behind your wife's exhortation to you, are the many sacrifices you've made to be who you are for your family, friends, and your career.

So here's another one: because you deserve it.

Nate Mundy said...

Musee D'Orsay over the Louvre. And The Picasso Museum. Those are the "must-goes" in my opinion. But having been an avid reader of yours for several years now, I'm confident you'll make your way just fine.

Bon Voyage!

Suburban Princess said...

Well! No wonder you are so excited!! I had no idea this was a first time across the pond for you.

You know we are all wondering why IR can't travel - our imaginations will run away with us.

I soooo prefer traveling alone. I adore my husband and son but they just dont share the same agenda. I know exactly what I want to do, where I want to go, what I want to see. They are happy to wander like they dont have a care in the world. Not a great combination. Soooo this spring I plan to go to Scotland...alone. Granted I will be with lots of people I know, just none I am obligated to.

I found most people in Paris spoke enough English to help me with directions etc (granted I speak French, just not quickly). I found Parisians to be very nice and helpful, especially when I looked lost. There is a tourist ctr on Champs De Elysee where you can get maps, directions, info etc.

I think this will be a wonderful adventure - just be sure to come back to tell us all about it and share your photos! I have a contact in Paris if you would like the info - perhaps if you need a hand, in English. You know my email.

Q said...

While I'm sorry your wife cannot travel with you; having the freedom to be selfish in a place you've dreamed of going may be the ultimate gift you can give yourself. It really opens you up to take advantage of sublime, unplanned moments...and you don't strike me as the type of chap who can't start up a conversation with a new friend. Have an incredible trip!

Pink Benny said...

Good for you! Having been raised in poverty, both my and I decided after we raised our rug rats....it was time for US. We frequent Paris, Rome, Tuscany and Madrid. We do it on a very modest budget....and yet....we manage to live the lives some only dream of. You, my friend, are on the verge of a great treat. Appreciez !

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Oh I am so so excited for you! I can't wait to read about it as I hope you will blog your adventures! Have a wonderful time and thanks for all of your lovely support with regards to my book. Have a wonderful trip

William Widmaier said...

I too, have never understood why the question gets asked.

Between Meals has just been added to my short "to read" list.

I know I've sent you a couple Paris restaurant recommendations earlier, but I actually have a couple page tips write-up I did a few years back for friends who constantly asked for suggestions. Let me know if you want me to send it to you.

M.Lane said...

Thanks everyone for the support!

William please send your list. Vengende is already on my dining agenda.