October 30th, time change day. I forget. When I open my eyes to the light I figure it is past eight. According to my clock it is exactly 8:34. The day is wrapped in cottony, woolly, foggy stuff so thick it is hard to see the evergreen in the garden not ten meters away from my window. The morning ritual seems to take less time than usual and by 9:40 I am at the door with Salomé. Great! Plenty of time to go to my favorite boulangerie for my Sunday croissants.
The town is quiet. The mist begins to lift and break up, showing patches of blue here and there. It isn’t cold in spite of the fact that we are one day away from November so I can walk to the café with no more covering than a light black sweater. I let Salomé off her leash. She knows the way perfectly and usually stays on the sidewalk. Today she decides to cross the street without my permission. There are no cars. I cross over to walk with her. I never walk down that side of the street so I notice how much it is like walking on an unknown street. For the first time, I see the front of the houses on the other side, the side I am always walking on and therefore not seeing except for the first story windows. Some of the houses are very run down, much in need of repair. This is the old area of town where the houses date from the 16th century. Some have been renovated and they are adorable with their sloping béarnaise roofs, green or blue shutters and wooden-railed terraces. It is a delight. I am in a new village, one seen for the first time. Salies from the other side of the street: something new every day.
When I arrive at the bakery, the gentleman behind the counter is waiting on a lady who is making a large order of Viennese pastries obviously for some event. I wait. The croissants are piled high on a tray in the window. They look fresh. Salomé sits at the door, which due to the warm weather is open, looking in. This is one of the shops in Salies that invites you not to bring in your dog. I wait; my watch says 9:48, so I have plenty of time to buy the croissants and arrive at the Café des Thèrmes before Hugh gets there. The lady finishes her order and I get my two Sunday croissants, pay the 1,60€, pick up Salomé’s leash and head for the Café.
Hugh has not arrived yet. I settle in and wait for Madame Ça Marche! to bring my café alongé. There aren’t many people in the café and the regular group that makes the morning ruckus hasn’t arrived yet. I decide to send Hugh a message saying I am there already. My I-phone is already on as I forgot last night to turn it off. I click on Messages-Hugh and begin to write in French: J’ai déjà arrive and push “send”. I notice that under the message the word “delivered” appears and then suddenly it changes to “read” and the hour: 9 a.m.! It is then it dawns on me: the hour change happened during the night, at 3 a.m. precisely, when I should have put the clocks back to 2 a.m. so I am one hour early!!!
So that is why no one is here, not the noisy crowd, not the elegant lady and not Hugh! I call Hugh.
“I told you. I sent you the calendar. You forgot anyway,” he chuckles; “I won’t be ready for another hour almost, sorry.”
Ho hum, not really a problem. I eat the croissants, sharing them with Salomé who keeps looking towards the door waiting for Hugh and more croissants. She doesn’t understand that Sundays are Hugh’s days for chocolate éclair and I get the croissants.
Upon arriving home, I reset all the clocks and my wrist watch; the computer and the I-phone have done it themselves. How do they know? I am happy it is only just now ten o’clock and my eleven thirty Skype call is still far off. I sit down to write this piece. After a while, Salomé gets restless and comes over, places her muzzle between my knees and looks up at me.
“What, silly dog? It’s only eleven o’clock! Don’t you know the clocks changed today? Not time for lunch yet!” I am chuckling softly. Her body, my body they don’t know the difference and just keep on doing what they do and needing what they need despite all the clocks of the world. Given the choice I would, of course, take bodies –mine and Salomé’s- over and above I-phones, computers and clocks. Salomé, being the kind loving dog she is, patiently waits till 1:30 (her body time), 12:30 clock time for her lunch and I do so too.