Rome, A Seizure and Autumn …

I’m back in Paris after spending about a week in Rome shooting a film festival there.

For more images of the festival and of Rome, CLICK HERE.

The whole experience in Rome was great. I spent a lot of time thinking about the cultural differences between the French and the Italians, or more specifically, the Parisians and the Romans. Here’s an abbreviated list of immediately apparent differences:

In Paris, when there are 200 people on the metro platform, it sounds like there’s 1 person. In Rome, when there’s 1 person, it sounds like there’s 200.

In Paris, if you ask someone for something, everything is a problem even when it really isn’t. In Rome, nothing is a problem even when it really is.

In Paris, Chinese food tastes like a failed high school chemistry experiment. In Rome (like in every other village, town or city in the world!) it tastes like … Chinese food.

In Paris, people eat buttery croissants for breakfast. In Rome, the same croissants are sweet and topped with sugar (and sometimes cream-filled).

In Paris, the buildings vary between 3 colors: off-white, off-white and off-white. In Rome, they look like a party of pastels.

In Paris, acting foolish in public is closely associated with embarrassment (for the fool and the observers). In Rome, it is celebrated.

In Paris, everyone is competent but nobody cares. In Rome, nobody is competent but everybody cares.

I’m interested to hear what my Parisian and Roman friends think about these observations.

I had a terrifying experience this week in a non-descript brasserie in the Marais. A 30-something man sitting by himself in the booth next to me suddenly let out a deafeningly loud scream for about 5 or 6 seconds. It wasn’t a type of scream I had heard before. Not like a scream from anger or pain or frustration. Something from deep inside. It was the kind of scream that makes you think you’re about to die, like someone is going to pull out a gun and kill everyone in the cafe. A split-second later the man collapsed like a tree from his booth and lay unconscious on the floor – smashing his head against the bar and the floor as he landed. For added drama, his plate of eggs and his glass of wine fell with him, smashing into pieces next to him as he lay motionless.

I ran outside and found a policeman and asked him to call the paramedics immediately while the bartender pushed the man onto his side so that he could breathe. The man wasn’t doing well at all and started to turn blue. It turns out the man had an epileptic seizure, but while it was happening none of us could be sure. I always thought a seizure would involve more convulsions and foaming at the mouth but I later read that this isn’t always the case.

The paramedics came and just as they got there, the man made a pretty rapid recovery. He wasn’t at all stable but was able to walk out of the brasserie with the paramedics. So it looked like everything was going to be ok. It was a pretty terrifying and memorable experience and one that makes me want to re-learn all the first aid training I’ve forgotten.

The leaves in Paris are changing colors …

Some photos of the week:

Actors (I hope!) at Les Frigos
Giant sculpture on school building
37th and newest bridge in Paris – Simone de Beauvoir footbridge


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