My theory of happiness, happily confirmed: it is, in fact, walking down the street in Saint-Germain-des-Prés with a truffle in one hand and a five Euro note* in your pocket, a whole day looming ahead with absolutely no obligations to anyone. Certainly, a galaxy of riches I could only fantasize about through most of my twenties. January is the month for sales in Paris, and so I did a little window-licking, as one must. Ruby red and imperial violet never looked so sumptuously good as they do on display at Yves Saint Laurent on Place Saint-Sulpice. I often have crumpled bank notes loose in my purse, unfortunately not four thousand of them or I might have bought something there, or at Gerard Darel. No matter, I thought, there will be other years, and other fortunes, and other fates, yet to reveal themselves. I have, in fact, looked longingly in that exact window at YSL before, under very different circumstances. So perhaps some day in the future, I will take it all. Or like today, I'll go to Monoprix (something like Kmart) for tights and underthings and beauty creams, tempted to fall at the feet of the wise woman perusing thongs while happily munching a ham sandwich, and stop for an armful of magazines before zig-zagging under awnings on a rainy afternoon, my one constant thought: gratitude for this moment, these days. Tonight I'm going out with a gang of Americans, including Elisabeth Fourmont, whose La Coquette I've delightedly read and admired for years, and Anne Marsella ('Remedy, my first novel, is set in Paris and recounts the adventures and musings of its eponymous heroine, a devout but unorthodox Catholic girl...'). On Thursday, my mother arrives and we'll be off to the races: tea at Mariage Freres, Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature (aka the taxidermy museum), Versailles, the treasures of the Medicis, et al. And then Monday, it's back to New York, and back to work: I've already agreed to speak at two or three universities in the city next month.
*When I was in my early mid-twenties, and had just started out freelancing, my income was in the very low five figures, and I was living in Tribeca with a man who was rather more successful, and each day, just before he left for work I would open my eyes and sleepily say, 'May I have five dollars for breakfast?' And it became something of a joke for us, that one day my memoir would be Five Dollars for Breakfast. A five in hand still makes me grin like a girl.