Time Signature • 11 January 2010

It has been twenty four hours since I boarded an airplane in Detroit. That was three days ago.

Meanwhile, at the Pompidou, steamclouds billowing from a crack in a building, facing the wall of blue pipes of the great art monstrosity. Bikram Yoga Paris. A sweaty man hoists on his pea coat, says merci beaucoup to a woman who is leaning on the front desk, wearing a bikini and tipping back a water bottle. He lifts his head to open the door, looking up at the exposed blue waterworks through the cloud of steam that follows him in to the street.

Under the broad low curves of the Eiffel Tower, a holler, and suddenly twenty Algerians are running for the perimeter. They’re all dressed in black, carrying racks of hats for sale and giant metal keyrings strung in replica Eiffel towers. The cops mill as the tall running salesmen emerge from the crowd and regroup running north, their tower-keyrings jangling, weighing them down, and catching the light.

Filing in to Notre Dame, a sign picturing a human removing its hat, with the instructions to descubrirse. Please discover yourself. There are two confessionals in glass-walled rooms alongside the tourist din. The confessor’s back is to the sanctuary. He leans in to the table in front of him, making eye contact with the priest.