Saturday, September 19, 2009

In the long run, we're all dead

One of the few pieces of French culture with which I have even a vague familiarity is Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit. No Exit stands up on its own merits, but it has perhaps more merit here. I was near the end of a long run today when I decided to take a brief tour around, up and down the steep hills of Sacre Coeur church and its funiculaire. I didn't want to go down the seedy main boulevard, so I decided to go by another way through the side streets.

I went down a one-way street, which high school English should have taught me was foreshadowing. Then, I saw a park; but as I entered, something like a macaque started shrieking at me. The guard was telling me not to run because I was in the vast Montmartre cemetery. Not running in a cemetery is intuitive to most people except anyone from Toronto, where one of the best and most popular running spots is a cemetery.

So I decided I'd just cut through the cemetery. Every time I approached the street, there was a 10-foot wall. Other apparent exits led nowhere, and still other staircases seemed promising but really just led to a caretaking shack. The cemetery inters some remotely famous people you're guaranteed to have never heard of. Still, it's old enough that many of the deceased were born before the Revolution.

You can think all this trying to walk through the cemetery because there is no exit. I probably walked a mile or so around the cemetery before I gave up and went out the way I came, but by this time, it had gotten beyond absurd.

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