I’ve had several bouts the last few weeks of a strange disorder I’ll call lost in transititis. You know, it’s that displaced person sensation. Everything looks so familiar but it sometimes doesn’t register that I really am back in my charming village in the south of France. I haven’t done so much moving around since I was a restless twenty-something. I think I remember that it was pretty easy to adapt to new locals way back then– more brain cells without a doubt.
The good news is I try to put what I’ve got left to much better use. Seriously, though, my condition is improving and I am no longer tongue-tied each time I stroll about the village. It feels so good to run into all my old friends and get into the way of life here again.
Today I cycled into Uzes, the large Medieval town just up the hill. Saturday is market day and to avoid the huge summer crowds I arrived a bit after 9 am. I could feel the energy and excitement building. The calm before the storm of Dutch, German, British, American and French tourists arrived in late morning. It felt so familiar, normal I guess since I sold wine at this same market for several years. Not much had changed; my good friend Michel was still at his habitual stand, slaving away like a madman dropping tiny teaspoons of salt-cod accras into hot oil all the while chatting with me. Elsa, his smiling young assistant was selling the golden morsels as fast as he could make em. Michel’s stand, Les Accras de Marius, is known throughout Provence as the king of accras and falafel. His brandade, a salt cod and olive oil paste, is legendary. As luck would have it, today was his 50th birthday. I couldn’t leave the market without doing something special so a bit later I passed by a second time with a nice bottle of red. Come September when the hordes of tourists have mostly gone home, we’ll get together and catch up, minus the smoking hot oil and the crowds of other displaced persons.