I woke up in a French hospital.
Maybe I should give y’all the back story.
I was in Paris last weekend. And it is hands down the most beautiful city in the world. Nothing like it. I got this feeling of being at home that I only get in Stoughton, Massachusetts and New York City. Paris is a city that I must call home at one point in my life.
I was on the train, in Paris when I heard a middle aged guy next to me speaking switch from fluent French to English. Not really uncommon in Paris, as a lot more people speak English than you would think but I asked this guy where he was from. He told me he was from Canada and lives in France now with his daughter. After a conversation that lasted about four stops, he gets ready to get off the train and before he does he said to me “Make sure to have fun while you’re young”.
Quick side story.
Ever since I found out I would be taking a trip to Paris while I was in Europe, I knew I would visit the statue of Charles Baudelaire. I’ve sort of lived in this guy’s shadow at least in the eyes of my English teachers, French teachers, and Google. People that know of him usually ask me how I feel about his work, and if I am a writer as well. Until recently I wouldn’t tell people I write, and I wasn’t really a fan of this guy’s work. His work has a depressing tone to it and it was never really my style.
I’ve grown to appreciate some of his work as of late though. Especially this one piece, Get Drunk.
You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.
But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”
Back to the regularly scheduled blog.
I took the piece literally.
It all comes full circle my second night in Paris, I was in the hotel with a bunch of other people and we were pregaming before heading out for our second and final night in Paris. After a couple bottles of rum & vodka I was feeling alright and we all decided to head out. You know, regular stuff.
Well when I got to the bar with everyone, the bouncer decided he wasn’t letting me in. Why you ask? Because I was “too drunk”. Eh I don’t know, I thought I was ok. It was the first time I’ve ever been denied anywhere so it was weird but I got over it and went into the bar across the street.
I order a drink, can’t exactly remember what it was, then order a beer. The bartender turns around to pour it and slams the beer down on the counter.
Next thing I know I’m waking up in a French hospital with a cute nurse that spoke no English. Luckily my French was good enough to ask her the basic questions like what am I doing there, how I got there, and asked her if I could leave. She told me she didn’t know how exactly I got there but she said she heard someone brought me and she then told me my BAC was way too high and that I should stay at least the rest of the night (it was 5:30am when I woke up).
I pulled a couple cords off my body and walked up to the front desk and checked myself out. Still pretty drunk and confused I somehow got a taxi back to my hotel and went to sleep by 6:30.
I don’t think this is what Baudelaire meant in “Get Drunk” but either way, I’d say I came out on top. Very thankful I didn’t get hurt, robbed, or just lost and I still have a lot of questions for the nurse, and this mystery person that made sure I got to the hospital.
End of story (I wish I had more but oh well)
Get Drunk is about if you’re going to do something, do it all the way. Don’t half ass anything. Completely enthrall yourself within something so much so that you aren’t aware of all the bullshit around you. He of course used alcohol as the analogy here but you get the point.
So basically, when in Paris, get too drunk and end up in the hospital.
Before ever reading that piece I approached every aspect of life in this way and sometimes the results are dangerous (I completely forced it this time) but, I appreciate the experiences. I also appreciate that my namesake approached life in the same manner I do.
Peace & Love
Baudelaire (The 2nd?)