May 5, 2011

A year ago: Back from the races (reposted)

Terry, our neighbor, and his lovely friend Anne-Carole have invited us to the 7ème Grand Prix de Monaco Historique. We arrive by train. Terry picks us up, personally, at the station. We wouldn't get unchaperoned through security, he apologizes. “The richer you get, the more involved the logistics become," I think to myself. Terry chuckles politely, he can read thoughts, the déformation professionelle of a famous film producer.

Terry's apartment overlooks the harbor from the 8th floor. It's rented. His own apartment would be better (he owns apartments in Monaco, Paris, etc), but they put the grandstand for the races right in front of his view, so there is no view.

The view of the harbor invites a study of the rich and famous. I feel the inner Lee Harvey Oswald. All Kennedies look the same.

The cars practice on the road below. The noise is physical. The Séries G race (“voitures Formula 1, 1975 – 1978”) is about to start. It starts. It has started.

The cars are surprisingly slow. You’ve heard that phrase before, “everybody was secretly hoping….” Not us. It’s not our fault that the tailwind of a McLaren M26 turns yellow, then orange, then ultraviolet. I point my Nikon D80 with the purest of motives. A second car is blinded by the fumes, and we have an accident. Yellow flags are waved viciously. Nobody dies. The unfortunate, but lively drivers exchange views. Gentlemanly compliments, certainly, or proposals to a mutual duel on the most generous terms, before sunrise, at Agincourt. “Tirez les premiers, messieurs les Anglais,” they will say.

“If Joan of Arc would not have chucked out the English, the whole world would now speak French,” my late friend Paul always used to say, tears in his eyes.

Stay tuned. The story continues here.

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