Early Morning Ruminations on the Return from France

How charming, my belief that I had—with virtually no effort—overcome the jet lag of returning home from France. I thought getting up at 6:00 a.m. Saturday, staying awake for the entire series of flights from Marseille to Little Rock, and going to bed at around 9:00 p.m. on Saturday evening (the equivalent of 4:00 a.m. Sunday in France, so I was awake for twenty-two hours straight) would deftly handle jet lag. I was fine all day Sunday. I went to bed Sunday evening, a little early. And then I woke up before 3:00 a.m. Wide awake. My quaint naïveté that I had conquered jet lag surprised me this morning when I found myself wanting to go back to sleep, but knowing I could not.

And, so, instead I washed the few dishes in need of washing, and began the process of washing clothes from the trip. Shirts and snazzy, colorful socks are in the washer now. Jeans will follow when the first load is done. And then underwear. Ah, the joys of living in clothes follow us wherever we go; methinks the benefits of nudism extend beyond freedom from wearing constricting clothing. Just think how much time one might save in a lifetime if freed from the chores of washing clothes; think of how many lives doctors might have saved, had instead of washing clothes, they had practiced their medical arts. There, I did it; I succeeded in making the argument that nudism can save lives and, conversely, that wearing clothes can lead to death.

I drove a rented car for the last six full days we were in France. I had reserved a Peugot 308, but when I went to pick it up, the reservation agent at Sixt Rent a Car knew I had a reservation, but did not know much beyond that; even though I previously had completed online forms with my driver’s licence, credit card information, passport number, etc., she knew only my name and that I had reserved a car. She had set aside a Fiat 500L, which ostensibly will seat five and hold three bags, just as the Peugot was supposed to do; but I suggested the Fiat 500L would not be suitable. Also, because it did not have GPS (another thing I’d listed as a requirement with my online reservation), it would not do. After some shuffling, she lined me up with a 6-speed manual transmission Nissan Pulsar with a GPS. That would be fine, I said. And it was, save for my ineptitude in getting the GPS set up properly from the start. And my encounter with roundabouts. And my poor recollection of French road signs I’d studied before the trip. And my stress with all the aforementioned. After getting acquainted with the car, though, and driving through a few roundabouts, I was all right. I actually came to like driving the car…as long as we were on desolate country roads. When we hit heavy traffic, my stress level peaked. Yet we got through all six days and many kilometers, with visits to Nîmes, Avignon, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Banon, Cabrières-d’Avignon (home base), Coustellet, Gordes, etc., etc. Here’s a snapshot of a map, showing some of the places we visited during our stay in France (including before renting the car); obviously, we drove through a lot of this area.


It’s now 4:40 a.m. and I must go attend to the washer and dryer. There’s so much to think about on the return from France. And so much to write about, if only I will. I think it’s time to kick myself in the butt and write some fiction, some travelogues, and a few opinion pieces. But, first, the clothes. And maybe breakfast. Coffee, of course, comes before all the above.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Early Morning Ruminations on the Return from France

  1. Juan, it looks like we traveled over more distance than we did; these places are close together! Pulsar does look like a Peugot! The most challenging, I would say, is a toss-up between Nîmes and Avignon; both have lots of traffic; but we had a nightmare trying to park in Nîmes, so it probably takes top honors.

  2. Juan Flores says:

    Incredible amount of driving for 6 days!? Fiat 500L? That is small! Looks like a Mini-Cooper! But the Pulsar … sort of looks like a Peugot?

    Which city was the most challenging?

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