Je t’aime

In which The Author meets someone new

A funny thing happened to me on the way to town this morning.
I’d better put this into context and say that I’ve got a tune stuck in my head, and it’s been there since about 8.15 or so. It’s a groovy, rather louche and naughty tune called ‘Je t’aime … moi non plus’, by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. It’s there for a reason, too. As Prof Jim al-Khalili would say, Let me explain…
At precisely 0752 my next-door neighbour started hammering something into the party wall. Again. This has been the state of play for several weeks now. I’ve no idea what he’s building in there, or why it should be so important to start work that he wakes me up every morning, but that’s his business. (I might make it my business if it carries on much longer, mind you.) Anyway, having been rudely awakened again, I got up and ran a bath while I listened to the BBC headlines. At about 8.15, my neighbour decided to start drilling into the party wall – at which point my subconscious mind took a little tour along my neural pathways. Watch this:
In Michel Gondry’s brilliant and surreal film The Science of Sleep, Stéphane (the hero) is woken up by his neighbour drilling through their party wall while fitting some shelves. The neighbour is played by the gorgeous Charlotte Gainsbourg. She, in turn, is the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin – who had a hit in ’69 (wow! A Freudian slip if ever there was one) with the aforementioned ‘Je t’aime … moi non plus’. My train of thought, having taken a little-known freight-only branch through my brain, arrived at that particular Ohrwurm and has stayed there ever since.
I left the house just before 9.00 and headed towards the Library as usual. I was halfway down the Gadlys hill, just past the site of the Waynes Arms, when I saw a very attractive young woman walking towards me. At first glance I thought she was my friend Claire M., a burlesque dancer and singer whom I haven’t seen for ages.
As we got closer I realised that it wasn’t Claire, but there was a striking resemblance. This girl was tall, slim, and quite dark, with black hair and a nose piercing. She was also wearing a chunky grey poloneck sweater under a black coat. So far, so good. She was ticking most of my boxes already.
Then she spoke to me – in a French accent. How bizarre is that?
She was trying to find her way to a little complex of offices tucked away behind the old Girls’ School. The GPS on her phone had let her down, and she’d missed the turning. Luckily she had the address as a photo on the screen. We crossed the road and I explained that she’d found her way to the Valley That Technology Forgot. I said I’d guessed from her accent that she wasn’t local.
It turns out that she lives in Cardiff, works in Brecon, and was in Aberdare for a training course. Once we reached the corner we went our separate ways, and I realised that in one of those famous parallel universes I’d just met my next girlfriend.
Yesterday was a day of coincidences (see And Another Thing….) It looks as though today is heading the same way already, and it’s not even lunchtime yet. Friday 13th is just around the corner. Watch this space…
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