I went over to Annie's yesterday afternoon, she was sitting in her easy chair watching the Tour de France. I pulled up a chair and sat along side of her. The sound of the TV was turned down, she asked me if I minded, I shrugged that it didn't matter.
Every now and then a sub title would cross the screen, though what we commented about was where the riders were riding, "... There's the obelisk at the Place de la Concorde.... Oh, look there's the flag of Joan of Arc... Don't the Tuileries look as beautiful above as they do below... Ah the Louvre..." and so on and so forth. In the course of the conversation Annie mentioned that she had been to Paris only once, when she was twenty-five.
We watched the race, not knowing who was winning, or who was wearing the Yellow Jersey, or a thing about the stories that had unfolded during the Tour, though it didn't matter. The Tour is the Tour, and the riders have the same edge, the same rhythm, the same desire... it is after all a national icon... it is the Tour de France: To ride long, hard, alone and yet not alone, to push forward no matter what, to ride, breath, and see France as it races through your veins.
"From Paris to the blue waves of the Mediterranean, from Marseille to Bordeaux, passing along the roseate and dreaming roads sleeping under the sun, across the calm of the fields of the Vendée, following the Loire, which flows on still and silent, our men are going to race madly, unflaggingly...." Desgranges wrote.
Annie and I sat watching the silent screen, we listened to the adrenalin pumping and the biker's wheels on the cobble stones, we sat at the edge of our seats, to the final lap as they came up the Champs-Elysees. Just then French Husband walked in, we barely looked up. Politely, Annie said, "Bonjour Yann, the end of the race is near, take a chair."
He did, and asked, "What happened to the sound?"
We didn't take our eye off the Tour, the riders started to sprint, their feet pumping with glorious force that their bikes swayed powerfully from left to right. The finish line was in sight, we could taste victory and then the TV went blank.
Annie and I looked at each other, then at French Husband who had the TV control in his hand. He wasn't even looking at the TV, instead he held the foreign object taping buttons uttering,
"Where's the sound?" He asked, as I threw eye darts the size of bicycle wheels at him.
And there you have it a Tour de France story that will not go down in the history books, nevertheless I will never forget, and my brother Mathew has his wish come true:
A story about the Tour de France on my blog instead of my adventures about yesterday's lack of a brocante.
We do not have a TV chez nous, never had. We made that decision when our children were born, hoping that without a TV it would encourage them to "speak" in English if there wasn't a French TV speaking at them.