At Trocadero last night there was a police raid.
The men– and they are all men– who sell the little Eiffel Towers on a ring, who don’t smile who don’t sing, they were not the problem tonight. It’s the new guys, from a different part of the world, with their plastic buckets full of glass bottles.”Ice Cold Ice Cold Fresh Fresh Fresh,” they are the new kind of not supposed to be here. The police run in, the men run out. Plastic buckets drop, bottles smash to the pavement, champagne sprays across the Avenue de New York like a New Years toast. The men disappear into the park across the street, to the safe spot they have been eyeing over their shoulder all day. The police stop three lanes of traffic to sweep up the glass, then drive away in an empty van. On the other side of the river, the men have already refilled their buckets, back to selling their wares.
The locks are coming down you know, the ones that people lock on bridges. The bridges are held up by Greek gods with brawny arms, angels blaring trumpets who can not hold up the weight of all that love anymore. The bottom of the river is rusted over in keys. Those locks for lovers, are also for mothers, brothers, daughters, anyone who has loved another. Or anyone with a camera, which is everyone in fact. Everyone who wants to lock themselves to something, or take a picture of themselves locking themselves to something that is not themselves. Because the locks feel like forever, more forever than now, which feels like nothing at all.
So take your children to the Musée d’Orsay and teach them to appreciate art. Give them the iPad and have them take pictures of the art. Take pictures of the descriptions of the art. Take pictures of the name of the artist who made the art which is written on the description of the art. Take pictures of the children in front of the art, a picture of the whole family in front of the art. Especially the art that you’ve seen before in a picture of the art. Everyone learning to appreciate art.
Paris is being eaten up — grain by grain, salt for salt, lick for lick– in camera clicks and selfie sticks. On top a girl from far away twirls and twirls and twirls, red dress, yellow dress, black dress– she changes clothes in the van parked at the end of the street. The photographer she paid, who speaks her language, which is not French, clicks and clicks and clicks. One guy holds the light, another guy holds another light, the van driver smokes cigarette after cigarette. The scene repeats, this girl leaves, another girl comes, on the other side of the bridge another one comes.
All I’m trying to say is that photographers experimented with the first selfies 150 years ago using mirrors. One mirror and another mirror, a mirror of a mirror used to take a picture of yourself in a mirror. Today we don’t seem to need mirrors. Only timers and sticks to walk around an entire city on one steady click. Because it’s not enough to visit the city anymore, the city must be possessed. The only mirrors are the carousels that turn for wedding portraits while children are pushed around in strollers behind screens.