All week I have been sitting in the offices at La Défense, the business district of Paris, looking out over the grey skies of these late autumn days. Watching flocks of pigeons scatter, dark shadows against the gold and burnt orange of the last of the autumn leaves, and contemplating life’s strange twists and turns. An email, a phone call, a snap decision and all of a sudden I’m on the TGV to Paris.
For three weeks I have joined the sombrely dressed commuters arriving to work by train every morning and marching across the cold, grey concrete of the concourse at La Défense into a myriad of offices. I stand out here as I do not own a black winter coat, nor any other black clothing, and my scarf in autumnal russet and gold is a far cry from the muted colours of other commuters.
As I walk the final stretch to the office I can’t help thinking that most of the people around me look like they are on their way to a funeral. A funeral of the soul maybe as the French idea of a job for life is still so very prominent here. The very thought of it makes me shudder. And although a regular income would be great and more worry-free than my current situation, I somehow feel I’ve come too far this time. Too far along my own path to hop back on the corporate commuter train.
From inside the office I take a sip on my herbal tea and relax as the warmth from the hot liquid spreads through my body. I think about Running Boy back in Bordeaux and feel a strange sense of separation from my own life. I know where I would rather be but for the moment I am here in Paris, the city of Love, the city of Lights. I take a deep breath and bring myself back to the present moment and the working day ahead of me. I’m happy to be working and I’m happy to be in Paris, I’m just not sure how I got here!