Friday, November 4, 2011

Haven't Felt Like That in Years

Last night I had serious déjà vu.  I got off the metro stop, and there was Place Sainte Anne, filled with drunk and or drinking people.  All of the restaurants had that same familiar smell of fried food and alcohol.  I walked around the place a bit, just to get my bearings, and figure out exactly what was going on.  The more I looked around and the further I walked, I realized that somehow I had been transported back to High Street.

I guess I should probably explain what on earth I was doing out at midnight in Rennes.  My sister in law told me about a friend of her's who was performing that night who would be a great contact to have in the city.  He had a lot of friends and might be able to help me out in the job search.  On the one hand, this would be a chance to maybe make a connection and possibly have some work come out of it.  On the other hand, this meant navigating Rennes by night.  I had never been left to my own devices in Rennes past 3 pm.  I had taken the metro/bus system all over town, so that wasn't an issue.  The greater issue would be myself. 

Back in the day, there was very little that scared me.  I remembered walking through the creepy part of High Street between the Short North and the University District back coming back from the Gallery Hop.  Of course I was also usually drunk and as a result afraid of nothing, or with someone who was coming back to my place.  Yes, I mean that exactly as it sounds.  I never thought anything of walking back from visiting a friend that lived down on 12th Avenue past Big Four.  Hell, I even once walked the whole way back from Micro Center to my apartment on Lane.

After Partner and I moved out of the University District, I started to develop this fear of cities at night.  It's like I had reverted back to this scared kid that I was back when I started at Ohio State.  I don't know if other people have this same oppressive feeling they get, where everything is so exciting, but so scary at the same time.  I used to get this feeling when I first started going to house parties or to clubs and bars.  I get fascinated by everything and all of my senses seem to heighten.  It's like this huge adrenaline rush.  Of course, the problem is, after that's done I find myself exhausted. 

Part of me was secretly hoping that I could talk Partner into going with me.  He had just finished his mock exams this week, so he had been hitting the books even harder than normal.  I figured maybe he could come out with me and we could just walk around a bit late at night.  I would leave it up to him if he wanted to take the car or not.  After all, the metro was running until 12:45 and the buses later than that.  I was of the mindset that maybe being out in it would put him in a different mindset. 

That became a solid no when Partner came home.  he had gotten stuck in an hour long traffic jam for an accident that he never saw the remnants of.  I knew that he would be staying in tonight when he told me that he expected blood on the highway with the time he waited.  He's not a horribly violent person, but as with most French people quite the râleur.  Ok, so I would be going myself tonight, even better. 

I decided that I should leave around 9:30 since it was at 10.   The metro is pretty fast, because it's not very big of course, so really the longest parts of my trip would be walking to the station and finding La Salle de la Cité.  Google Maps made it look like it was nothing.  Seriously, it was right off the Place Sainte Anne.  How could I miss it?  So I get dinner around for us, we eat, and then I head out around 9:20.  I make it to the metro and take it down to Sainte Anne no problem.  So I start off in one direction, find the road I was supposed to take, and head down it.  I start to notice that I'm not on the Place anymore.  

I ask someone where to find it, and they have no idea where it is.  I head back to the place because I don't want to get lost.  I ask someone else, and they say to take that road over there and make a left.  Ok.  So I keep going, and well, end up somehow near a town market that I have no idea where I am, but take the next road.  Mother in Law always told me that pretty much all roads in Rennes lead you back to a Place.  I finally am within spitting distance of the place and I ask a guy walking by if he knows where it is.  He says to take this road back to the place, but keep going straight, and that I couldn't miss it.  After 20 minutes of dicking around, I finally get there. 

So it was kind of a strange night.  It was a presentation of film projects by the lycées in Rennes.  They were actually some really great movies with some great ideas.  One film was about this guy who finds a book that tells about his life.  There was another about a woman who was running from her past.  They tried to be international and spoke English in it.  The speaking would be best described as "correct," but in the French sense of correct.  Afterwards, the guy I went to see came on stage.  It was an interesting concept.  He redid the soundtrack to the movie Duel.  He built some really good tension with his use of guitars and other ambient sounds.  There was some really interesting parts like when he would change the radio, he'd switch what was playing.  Of course, the film has a lot of meaning that can be drawn from it too, so overall it was a good experience. 

At the end of the performance, I tried to find him to talk a bit. Of course, I had to keep an eye on time, and make sure I wasn't going to miss the last metro.  I waited for probably about 15 minutes outside after probably a good 20 of searching for him.  I tried to talk with a few people, but there was nothing going on, so I just said that I'd have to try and talk with him another time.  I walked back to Sainte Anne.  

Of course, things were only louder and drunker there.  People were coming off the metro in costumes, because French people don't seem to realize that Halloween is over and you can't just celebrate it the week thereafter.  I was just taking the steps down when 5 police officers were coming onto the place.  I got out of there in a hurry.  Naturally, on the train there was a kid drinking Kronenbourg on the metro, something I had assumed illegal.  He was speaking very loudly, and would have been amusing if I didn't have a problem with watching people publicly embarrass themselves.  Finally, I made it back to my stop. 

So I'm walking back and nothing's really looking familiar.  I come to a cross walk and look at one of the signs for the road.  I am at a road that is a good deal North of where I should be.  I'm starting to think that maybe I should turn around, but I don't know, that maybe I just came out at a weird place.  I walk a bit further on the same road.  I generally know where I am, so I'm not concerned about being lost.  I keep going until I see an escalator.  I had walked back an entire metro station north of where I needed to be. My metro card was still active, so I went back to the station, took the road back the right sense, and finally got back home about 12:40.  

Overall, it was a strange night.  I had a good time to be sure, and I'm glad I went.  I just haven't felt that adventurous in a while.  I don't know exactly why either.  In any case, I've conquered Rennes by night, and I got to feel like I haven't in almost 10 years.  Hope you're all doing well, I've got NaNo to get back to.....


  1. Hope your writing is going well!

    Your long journey sounds a little unsettling. I'm not a fan of being lost, so I got a little anxious just reading this! Yikes!

  2. Heh, it's going. I wish I could say that it's constant, but it mostly comes in fits and starts. I had to stop the other day when Partner came back, and I am hoping to get some time to sit down and start again tomorrow. Good thing it's early enough. I saw The Importance of Being Earnest yesterday and got really inspired, but no time to write anything before Partner's last class.

    I'm usually a big fan of chaos and getting lost. I spent a lot of time being practical and reasonable when I was young, so now I'm going to be as chaotic as I can handle for a while. Partner is a good balancing force. He's far more reasonable than I.

  3. that does sound like an adventure!! I love getting lost! it stirs something up inside that is hard to feel as I get older!! Some of my best memories is of getting lost in cities cause it really is an adventure!!

  4. I have to admit, it wasn't as much fun as the week wandering around London, but it was just nice to step outside of the relative quiet that is my life. I fear that as I get older these adventures will become less and less frequent. I do recommend though, if one is planning on getting lost; get lost in a city with good public transport.

  5. ah...this reads like a wonderful idea for a short film. In French.

  6. If it were me, our movie's hero would have gone out with his partner, and they would have come home for sexy times. Damn mock exams.... This is why when I did short films, I only did them with straight friends.

  7. I used to live at 49 E 11th. On Friday and Saturday nights, they'd block the street w paddy wagons to round up the nasty drunks. Always fun to attempt to come home from work at 12mn. But I also lived at 11 W. 1st in Short North right across from the T&A Cafe......this was before the Short North was completely done over.

  8. Wow, so you were right in the thick of it. My dad told me about all the bars that used to be there. They bulldozed all that the year before I started for the Gateway Project. I just remember places like the Nuthouse or the Varsity Club.

    I feel like there's quite a bit of Buckeye history I missed out on because of when I came.