Living Vicariously

The airplane’s wheels touched down at 7:30AM in Paris, my favorite city, and I couldn’t wait to hit the ground running.

My friend, Lori, who had moved to France several months earlier was waiting for me with strong coffee and pain au chocolate.  We dropped off my bags and began our explorations.  Walking along charming narrow streets, we soaked up the beauty of the architecture, the sounds – sirens, an accordion and snippets of conversations in French and of course, the smells . . . . men’s cologne, crepes and waffles from the corner pushcarts.

We walked through churches, visited the dozens of artists’ booths along the Seine and crossed the bridge to the Isle St. Louis.  My boss had recommended a restaurant there, Sorzo, and said he expected to receive numerous food pics from me, as was our custom in the office.  The four of us eat lunch together daily and almost always, very dutifully, have salad, a protein shake, or some yogurt and fruit. It’s ironic to me that although we’re constantly dieting, we’re ALWAYS talking about and sharing pictures of food that is decidedly not diet food .  When one of us indulges, we all indulge vicariously!

 It’s a calorie free way to enjoy something decadent.  It’s why we post our travel pics to social media too.  We want the ones we love to also get to see all the wonderful things we just saw without having to spend the money on a ticket.  And Paris is a pretty great place to experience – even vicariously!  It’s the fantasy; the fun of exploring and the possibility of what could be.

And so I texted photos to my coworkers of the luscious scallops over zucchini pasta with foam I had at Sorza, the gorgeous, shiny, coffee flavored cake with hazelnut cream topped with a hazelnut macaron and the Rose flavored macaron filled with rose petal and lychee cream, embellished with fresh raspberries I had at Laduree. The scent and texture were so delicate, I can only describe the taste as the equivalent of afterglow

 We took a dinner cruise in a glass boat on the Seine.  Each course was artfully plated and the wine was fantastic.  The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, the Musee d’Orsay bathed in soft yellow light were the backdrop on either side. The violinist strolled, playing old French standards and new popular ballads. In this exceptionally romantic setting, couples in love were channeling Pepe le Pew all around us, so we decided to live vicariously.  “If a man ever proposed to you again, where would you like it to be?  What would you like it to look like?”  We chose to explore these highly improbable scenarios rather than look at the current reality and the quite distinct possibility that we would be two old women climbing in and out of tour buses on these trips with one another in the future!  I think it’s healthy to spend a little time living vicariously; to escape from our ordinary lives, and imagine wonderful things even if they may never happen.

 On my last night in Paris, we sat on the roof of our hotel with a bottle of wine, a baguette and some cheese.  We looked up at the inky blue sky dotted with stars and puffs of dark pink puffy clouds.

 With the rooftops of Paris below us, we mused at what the lives of some of the residents of the more interesting apartments might be like. We soaked in the Eiffel tower lit up in gold and my friend got out her phone.  “Okay, I’m making a note on the calendar six months from today.  What will our lives be like then?”  We shared our hopeful predictions and she entered them, one by one.  How many will be true when the date arrives?  

 I’m so grateful for the friends who share the photos from their vacations, show me the fabulous meal they had over the weekend or tell me about the wonderfully sweet thing their husband did for them the other day.  Hope. Living vicariously. Imagining. Fantasizing. Dreaming. It helps keep us going and keeps us thinking about all the wonderfully delicious things that just might lie ahead.




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