South to Toulouse

toulouse 0719Today’s stage of Le Tour de France, the midpoint of this 21-day race, is heading south to Toulouse, which I just learned in my bicycle chat room is the resting place of St. Thomas Aquinas. And Albi, where the race began today, is the birthplace of Henri Marie Raymonde de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (the name that never ends), the Impressionist painter.

Interestingly, according to my two-minute research project of the morning, both men achieved fame and greatness but appear to have been horrible disappointments to their families.

St. Thomas’ family had him abducted on the road to Paris, where he was headed to study at what describes as a “prestigious yet turbulent university.” A year later he was released and allowed to carry on with his studies, which led to him being considered the Roman Catholic Church’s foremost western philosopher and theologian.

Toulouse-Lautrec did not gain real prestige until after his death at age 37, and while his mother supported his ambitions, his father remained disdainful of a member of the aristocracy turning his “gentlemen’s hobby” of painting into a vocation.

I don’t really have anywhere to go with this information. I mean, I’m sure I could keep blithering, but mostly I just thought that someone whose blog is located under “toulouse81230” ought to acknowledge the homeland he’s never been to.

It’s in the high 80s today in Toulouse, unless you’re really in Europe, where it’s in the high 20s. This is all I can tell you about the Celsius scale: it matches Fahrenheit at exactly one point, -40; and the only conversion I can remember (other than 32 = 0) is that 82 degrees here equals 28 in Toulouse. It sounds less hot in Celsius, doesn’t it?

It could be in the 80s here in Gunnison also, which is too hot for those of us who live here. While our visitors from places south, such as Texas, assure us that this is really quite temperate, I am surrounded by people (except for Lynn) who join me in lamenting how it is too hot to even think. We would, to a person (except for Lynn) prefer the temperature to be too cold rather than too hot. We feel there are solutions to “too cold,” and really none for “too hot” other than sitting in sweaty, defeated silence.

I did leave an anonymous note — not that I’m a fan of anonymous notes — on someone’s truck the other day, after the little dog they left in the enclosed cab with the windows cracked barked for over an hour. I suppose, since the dog was still barking, it wasn’t prostate with heat stroke, but I did use our temperature gun to determine that the back seat was 103 degrees.

I left a copy of a news article discussing how hot enclosed cars become and a sentence noting the interior temperature. I didn’t see how it ended, but James thought he saw someone brandishing the note and asking passersby if they had left it. Hence, anonymity: instead of feeling bad for doing such a stupid thing, the thoughtless jerk was worried more about who called him out than the fact that he nearly killed his pet.

Probably I should have just called the cops, but I had already called earlier that morning because the large mentally ill man with a large dog had come into our shop long enough to accost a customer (who did not know him) with a litany of profanity. The police, of course, were familiar with this man, and the dispatcher advised that the best course of action in the event of a repeat is to call 911.

We had a less deranged but still delusional customer yesterday. Gilly gets asked all the time where she’s from. Answer: Gunnison, the last 28 years, but originally England.  But yesterday she got a new one: where did she learn to speak English? England, English . . . what can you possibly say?

Well, I paused to watch the cyclists run into Toulouse, which I have, over the last couple of hours, learned is the fourth-largest city in France, and for some reason is known as the “pink city” despite a history of economic development at the hands of a turquoise dye, a city of immigrants and the space industry.

But this means I am once again going to be late for work, and I never did figure out how to turn this to the series of pictures of the Some Day house I took last night (where I was pleased to see that out new south-facing deck will be shaded by giant cottonwoods in the summer), so I should just cut my losses and carry on with my day, projected by meteorologist Chris Spears to be the hottest yet.

And we’ll all do better tomorrow, except that the Tour could be headed into the Pyrenees, which will require my attention. But I have photos locked and loaded, so maybe we’ll be okay, as long as I don’t detour further in the south of France.




One thought on “South to Toulouse

  1. Could not agree more about hot weather – “sitting in sweaty, defeated silence” perfectly sums up my feelings. Not, however, Michael. Who loves it.

    Also, for future reference, it’s legal now to break a car’s window to rescue a child or an animal if you perceive them to be in danger (and I think, barking or not, 103 degrees is dangerous). They’re lucky their dog didn’t die. Jackass. You do have to try to find the owner first, but I don’t know how hard you have to try. Perhaps I could do 2 minutes of research.


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