moments of illumination in the city of light

006 : John Greiner on the deck of a bateau mouche, 8th arrondissement
Born in 1969 in New York, USA, John Greiner currently works as Writer / Museum Employee Why Paris? wine, women & song. He digs the following Paris bits: 1. The metro 2. Musée Rodin 3. Gauloise Blondes 4. Chartier 5. the cemeteries He is, however, a bit miffed by the bateaux-mouches, dog feces, Parisian cheeseburgers, the luggage floor at Galeries Lafayette, and people who complain about I.M. Pei. For more info on John Greiner you should send an email or visit baron & crow.

image: Kahala

“My fist flew wildly and connected with the warm Parisian evening air”

We came up out of the Métro and made our way to the river. I wanted to be back underground, or at least inside.

“Let’s go somewhere for a drink?” I suggested.

“We have to make the boat,” she replied.

“If we don’t make the boat then we’ll get the one after,” I smiled. “Such a warm day. Something cool would really hit the spot. A Monaco?”[1]

“I didn’t come to Paris for a Monaco,” she answered impatiently.

Apparently I was the only one who was thirsty, who didn’t just want to see the city from a Bateau Mouche.[2] I resigned myself to the situation, and got onto the line for the boat with my girlfriend and what appeared to be a large group from the Elks Club Local Branch 710 from Kyoto, who had their wives and kids and the most complex of camera equipment in tow. Lightheaded due to lack of food and drink I was carried along with the rush, eventually taking a seat in the rear of the upper deck.

“This is wonderful. Now I can see all of the sights in the most efficient manner possible.” She stood up, and made her way to the bow. I reluctantly followed.

“I’m sure this will be fun,” she said.

We began to make our way up the Seine. To the casual observer it must have appeared that this was a boat of atrociously dressed paparazzi on assignment to photograph whatever crossed their field of vision, no matter how inconsequential. I had not witnessed such mayhem since the Mona Lisa gallery in the Louvre.

The sun began to set and the lights went up on the Tour Eiffel.  I stood up, struck by the beauty of Paris, wanting to get a better view. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder, and then I was roughly pushed aside. I turned around, saying “Hey!”

“You ruin picture.”

“I ruin picture?” I was taken aback.

I wanted to ask him why he felt that his particular shot, at this angle, would be superior to the rest, but I knew that it would be purposeless to engage in a dialogue. Instead, I opted to throw a punch. I pulled back my right fist. A flash went off. There was an all consuming light and then total darkness. My fist flew wildly and connected with the warm Parisian evening air. I heard the voices of those around me. The members of the Kyoto Elks Club Local Branch 710 and their families were shocked at my behavior. They had spent a small fortune to come here and take photos of the city of lights to show to their rivals at the Moose Club, and there I was blocking the view, throwing punches pell-mell. I fell back onto the nearest seat, completely blind. No more Tour Eiffel, no more Notre Dame, no more Pantheon. No more beautiful girls in the Metro.

I hope someone got some nice snapshots out of this.

referenced works

  1. A drink made with beer, grenadine, and 7-Up. Popular with teenagers, giggling girls, and the fainthearted.  Can be quite refreshing in summer.

  2. Boats giving tours of the Seine. Literally “fly boat.” So-called not for any resemblance to the insect but because they were originally manufactured in the Mouche region of France, near Lyon.

location information

  • Name: the deck of a bateau mouche
  • Address: Pont de l'Alma, rive droite, 75008 Paris
  • Time of story: Evening
  • Latitude: 48.862218
  • Longitude: 2.300992
  • Map: Google Maps



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