Someone in the car was saying “at death's door, on death's porch between the umbrellas and the shoes, listening to the kitchen clank and thinking size five's a bit small for a reaper”. We had been caving, six of us, a black road through limestone trees and all we knew was the cave mouth was near a chapel. There was more than one chapel. We didn't find the cave.
So we went to a bar and bought a giraffe. That's what they call those towers of beer with a tap at the bottom. You put it on the table and serve yourselves. I've only seen them in Thailand. They don't seem very French. We got some funny looks.
Not finding the cave is a part of caving. Like not catching the fish is a part of fishing. Probably. I hate fishing. I like sitting next to rivers doing nothing. At least we had a car and the sky looked good.
I went to the Big Tourist Caves last week. So big they have conferences in them. Though it must be hard to confer, with all the reverb muddying things up. Weddings, too. Anyway, astounding. I recommend it, if you like to look at things and to be in places. You can find it using the signposts and the internet.
I was there with a couple of families, to to them and fro them, and on the way back I mentioned wanting to be more of a writer and less of a not-quite-a-writer. It was a rare instance of admitting that I'm not what I want to be. She said why not change the names of the people you meet and write about them on the internet, like that police officer from a while ago. And I thought: nah. But then: alright.
So her name was Betsy Cavalcade and she was a frizzy mother of one and worked for the police as an abbreviation. I pretended to understand what she stood for, as I'd never heard of it. Her child was vague and quietly violent and she said there's always one and it's usually mine. After that there was silence, during which I felt very lucky to be childless and said yeah I must get that vasectomy booked. The windows were open and the breeze was torrential and my words were blown onto the road.
Betsy talked more about the police and departments and downsizing and the kids talked about swimming pools. There were two other parents in the car and they were laughing, or not, I don't know because my ears were full of wind.
I dropped everyone back at their tents and went for dinner, which was protein in sauce, with things on the side. During the meal I discussed sarcasm with one of the voices in my head. Sarcasm and cynicism and sneering, fear of sincerity, not brave enough to be vulnerable, that kind of thing. It's one of the lesser voices, hasn't really developed yet, so it agreed with everything I said. Pathetic, kind of, I told it so and it shrank to nothing. Really I'd prefer it to work against me like the others, but they're all on holiday at the minute. I don't know where. Local. They've never been to the south of France. So there's an awful peace, nudged occasionally by murmurs in another language that seem to be saying things like I might see The Sorcerer's Apprentice later, but then again it has Nicolas Cage in it.