The Sultans of Swing

It's Dave. How's it going?

The Cote d'Azur is the sunniest, warmest part of France but it's still at about the same latitude as Boston. And while the weather during the day can be beautiful, as soon as the sun goes down the temperature plummets. And there aren't many streetlights here. When the sun is down, it's dark.

Tonight when I walked outside I was again hit by that darkness, and when I got in the car I could still see my breath. I felt really far from home. I pulled onto the narrow country road that leads away from the house and turned on the radio. Instead of another French song whose lyrics I can't understand, they were playing "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits. I felt closer to home.

It's amazing how language affects us. In Mougins, where most days I don't hear a word of English outside my own house, I'm much closer to the place where Mark Knopfler wrote Sultans of Swing (London, I assume) than anyone in the United States. But the culture and language of England has spread itself through much of the world the last 300 years, and I'm a product of that history. Chances are, if you're reading this blog, you are too. And I think that's mostly a good thing. At the very least, it makes it easier to appreciate certain simple pleasures no matter where you are. I was glad to enjoy one of them tonight.

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Anonymous Drew S said...

Dave, don't lose it man, hang in there. I can send you some Dire Straits CDs or even fly out there to hang donning arm bands and a head band a la Mark Knopfler. You'll be back stateside soon enough -- for now, just soak in all the French you can. You'll appreciate home a lot more when you come back, and appreciate not-home a lot more while you are there. Vous êtes ainsi de l'argent. As they say in your neck of the woods, "Feliz Navidad".

Blogger beckylou said...

Hey Dave, I'll give you something to ponder on. My great great(several greats) uncle was Captain John Smith. Cool, huh. I found your birthday card. :)

Blogger Dave said...

Thanks to you both for your encouragement. And Drew, thanks for the offer of CDs but I think I have them all on MP3 anyway. CD's aren't money anymore, as you know. What IS money is your great home furnishings and design business, www.designpublic.com. Everyone should go there and spend at least $50 so they get free shipping. Go. Now.

Most of the time it's great here. I'm almost always happy. But sometimes - just for a few minutes at a time, never for too long - I miss the ease of speaking a language in which I can effectively express myself, and not having to sound like a moron when I open my mouth.

As Drew knows by experience at Stanford, I often sound like an idiot when I open my mouth in English, but at least I feel confident doing so. I'll make it, don't worry. There are worse things in life than living in the Cote d'Azur. Like living anywhere else, pretty much.


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