Translated by Jeremy Edwards.
This year I tested the staycation for you, which is a sedentary alternative to a vacation. An interesting concept for those who, like me, do not go on vacations all across the Americas, but remain here at home in New Orleans. Yes, well, I confess, there is no reason to bring out the tissues and cry, because one should know that New Orleans during fall break is a pretty good place to live, actually. There are tougher sacrifices that are made than spending a week here (there are even those that fly just to live, really)
In fact, it’s a bit like living in a different temporality. I finally discovered the morning in New Orleans, much later in the morning than if it were a school day, but earlier than a day on the weekend. It was pleasant like a croissant from a bakery and a café au lait outside. As when eating a flakey, buttery croissant, the morning was serene, and time passed slowly.
It’s both refreshing and warming, like a picnic on the grass at a park. A light breeze raises the picnic cloth gently, and the sun reflects on one’s glasses. We discuss things between bites while breathing in nature. Our skin glistens gold. We take the time to read and to shut our eyes. It’s calming, and it seems to last a long while.
It’s generous like the meeting of French and American cultures. People from all backgrounds, from all walks of life, of all ages, who love the French language come to talk. Amongst themselves or with us in French first, then offering us the possibility to practice English a bit. It’s a true exchange, warm and delightful to the heart and to the soul. In the end, time catches up, and it hasn’t lasted long enough.
It’s like all of those small pleasures like in Amélie Poulain. It’s like biting into a crunchy piece of toast with Nutella on it while sitting on the terrace of a café. Like getting one’s toes soaked in a pool with a view of the CBD. Like talking about one’s city to excited visitors. Like understanding a movie in its original language. Like drinking a glass of white wine at the movie theater in a comfortable chair. Like playing while studying with happy, motivated children. Like taking a break and eating ice cream at snack time. Like eating a tray of oysters on bar stools. Like talking about men, life, travel with friends, and feeling alive and thrilled.
Because ultimately, a staycation is also a journey. It’s like going through a big roller that compresses time and stretches it like an accordion. It is learning to take time. It is living. Gently, slowly. For millions of years. And always in the summer.