It snowed here in Paris on Monday. Not much, just enough to coat trees, grass and cars and stick here and there to the shady parts of the sidewalk, but temperatures promptly dropped well below freezing and welded it all into an icy mess.
On Tuesday morning I missed my bus and decided that instead of waiting in the cold for twenty minutes I'd walk the rest of the way to work. I was wearing chic knee-high leather boots and within a block I could feel the smooth soles skidding dangerously on the unavoidable patches of ice. Tightly holding my brand-new Sony Walkman MP3-player in one hand and my gloves in the other, I carefully made my way down the sidewalk. I felt like an idiot for being so unprepared, but all the other people I passed were advancing just as slowly and wearing just as impractical footwear.
Ah, Parisians. We don't do winter.
I eventually slipped and fell and landed on my rear in a drift of snow at the foot of a plane tree. Then I had a bright idea. Why hadn't it occurred to me before? I was carrying a backpack of running stuff in the vain hope of escaping outside for a run during lunch. I took out my running shoes, took off my stylish boots, and walked the rest of the way with ease.
I didn't change back into the boots until I was at my desk, secretly hoping that my colleagues would comment on my exchange of stylishness for surefootedness. But to my disappointment, nobody noticed.
Today was clear and the sky was a crystalline blue, and the sun worked as hard as it could at melting the ice. But temperatures are still firmly negative and instead of disappearing, the snow is turning into the kind of slushy, muddy, half-frozen mess I remember fondly from March in Boston.
I wore a pair of discreet black sneakers to work and took the bus this morning, just in case.