Dear Auntie Moonbeam
Wherever I travel I have to do a drawing. It’s like a compulsion. Whether it’s a weeklong vacation or an afternoon business trip. If I’m in a different city I must put pen to paper.
And preferably outside. For a couple of reasons – one, that’s where the buildings are. And two, you sometimes get to meet people sitting in public.
Scratch that, you always get to meet people. And since my second favourite thing after sketching is meeting the locals then this is a two birds one stone kind of thing.
In Paris I got more than I bargained for.
I was parked in front of the famed and phenomenal Notre Dame Cathedral. The area was swarming with tourists. But there was a quiet bench I had all to myself. Or so I thought.
It should be noted I can be a little absent-minded when I draw. The ebbs and tides of humanity bustle all about but unless someone taps my shoulder and starts talking I’m liable not to notice.
After all, headphones + sketching = my happy place
This time as I was drawing I slowly began to notice a pattern off to my right side. People were sitting down to watch me sketch and then taking off. This isn’t unusual, sometimes folks like to watch a drawing in progress.
However, these people were lingering less than a minute before moving away. Now I don’t fancy myself a big artistic draw but something about the length of time they were sitting, coupled with the regularity (almost clockwork) rotation of them seemed strange.
It slowly began to penetrate my happy place that “hey….something’s going on here” (Yup, in my happy place I’m kinda dumb)
Sure enough when I stopped the up down eye flick motion long enough to look around I realized I was surrounded by a group of photo happy tourists. They had formed an orderly queue beside me and were patiently awaiting their turn to have their picture taken beside what they must have assumed was a real live French artisté!
Well this is awkward….how do I explain I’m just a plain ol’ tourist like them? From Canada of exotic places? And that not only do I not live & starve in a charming Parisian garret but that I also barely passed high school French (sorry Mom, that’s probably the first you’ve heard of that sad fact…)
So I didn’t. I smiled and posed and muttered vaguely French sounding phrases like “Bonjour” and “D’accord”.
It was enough. I was rewarded with big smiles, friendly bows and many blessings upon my person.
At least I think they were blessings – as I’ve just proven above my grasp on foreign languages is slippery at best
Encouraged by my participation (and seeming Frenchiness) the tour leader began organizing group shots. Soon I was posing in the centre of beaming crowds. It was fun and definitely made the line go faster. I even started waving, with what I hoped was convincingly Parisian flair.
In the end the tour moved on and I was left bemused and charmed. They left with camera rolls full of what they believed to be an authentic French artist in her natural habitat. And I had a great story.
Oh, and a sketch: