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Colors of Adolescence Edition 3

Graphic by Christine Jeong (12)

Let yourself sink into the Parisian atmosphere: intoxicate yourself with the fragrance of its dense, buttery baguettes; hum along to the romantic tinkles of French words boiling ever so softly in your ear; desperately clutch onto each and every transient second, in nowhere less than this city of love.

Amble down the glassy Champs-Elysées while cradling Louis Vuitton shopping bags, but try not to look like a tourist; how do the French walk so fashionably?; host a nonchalant picnic at the Champs de Mars, but try not to laugh between your nibbles; heaven forbid they pick up on that crude American accent; wrap yourself within the arms of a loved one at the Pont des Arts, but try not to gaze starry-eyed at the gracefully-flowing Seine; after all, you wouldn’t want to be that tourist who lives a life that cliché.

Gruesomely plow through the days and plow through your way amongst the crush of foreigners hurling themselves at the Arc de Triomphe; ponder as to whether to smile when the waiter with greasy, slicked-back hair flicks the plate at your nose; understand that it might finally be okay to shuffle uncomfortably in the clammy métro, and maybe even frown at the mice scuttling in the grimy underground sewers.

Start again, and this time, breeze past the towering Tour Eiffel at the break of a new day; walk ahead the opaque tang of the obnoxious baguettes and ignore the beckonings of the lacquered chouquettes; slip into the crooked cobble alley at the back of the pathway, and stumble upon the patch of sea that rolls into the daily flea market.

Blind your scent with the sting of acrid mackerel and salted trout; listen to the toots of familiar merchants desperately wailing decreasing prices; watch the flurry of blurred, ordinary colors crawl out from behind the glossy curtains of Paris and finally cross off ‘Paris’ from your bucket list. Realize that it is, after all, an urban smog like any other.

Paris syndrome: transient psychological disorder encountered by some individuals vacationing in Paris or elsewhere in Western Europe; most often characterized by hallucinations, the sensation of disillusionment and derealization.

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