Alone in Paris. What to do today? Ah, yes, Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Jim Morrison, former flamboyant singer of the Doors, is buried at this reputed world’s most visited cemetery. He passed away in Paris in 1971 at the age of 27 of a presumed drug overdose.
I exited my flat this morning to engage a sunny glorious day. With a freshly opened room temperature liter juice box of peach-orange nectar in hand from the previous day’s shopping, I purchase a pair of quiches from the local quiche shop, selected from the glass counter display, to be consumed on the saunter. Yes, the shop sold predominantly quiche plus numerous other enticing bakery items. I ate the two and walked to the underground Metro which I had by this time become quite familiar. It no longer enjoyed any intimidation over me, what with its foreign words and illegible posted notifications, as my confidence was handsomely buoyant.
With no difficulties I located the noted celebrity graveyard and entered. Very old, as estimated by the dates on many gravestones, but impressively well maintained. I possessed no French tongue so I didn’t burden the guards with an unprofitably cumbersome query as to the whereabouts of the American singer’s resting place. I walked the grounds leisurely reading the names on the head stones fully expecting to accidentally come across Morrison. After a brief respite on a bench where I read a book, refreshed, I resumed the casual search. I was certain of a victorious outcome, and, in the end, my expectations were not betrayed.
I came upon a large swath of grounds that was very heavily shaded. Shortly, I heard weeping. Not the lonely weeping of a single human, but that of at least two weepers plus additional folks in the distance coupled with the ambient noise of a small crowd. Possible funeral? Or folks spending time with a loved deceased family member? No. This was the crowd of about 15 people visiting the grave of Jim Morrison. The crowd was not together, meaning they were not of the same visiting party. The crowd was waxing and waning in a constant fluctuating roster of rotating personnel. Several would leave, another small group would appear. They were sight seers, as was I. Seeing this ridiculous scene of the crying and gawking, I was suddenly embarrassed of myself for now being part of this same silliness.
I stood 25 feet away and observed the goings on. Two girls appearing to be in their early 20s or late teens openly weeping and writing notes to the deceased singer. The tear stained documents were lain at the foot of the head stone. Several male members of the crowd retrieved bottles of liquor from their backpacks and left them unopened for the singer’s ghost to imbibe, I guess. A collection of five or so bottles had already accumulated. The guards certainly were very thankful for the offerings of these youthful buffoons, gifts of booze they would gleefully divvy up after hours.
It was a silly scene, one I could not muster the strength to embrace. Unable to overcome my embarrassment I turned and absconded with the balance of my dignity.
I next stopped at a nearby grocery store to purchase a number of croissants, a piece of chocolate, and a bottle of water. A snack to remain properly fueled.
5 hours ago