I often feel like Anna Karina in this scene, particularly at conferences, where the goal is to network for some vague but promising outcome.
To find an opportunity and be able to pounce on it while clutching watery vodka at a homogenised two-hour mixer is indeed a talent, but I'm little interested in "advancing long-term corporate objectives."
I am looking for people willing to answer immense questions with no answers. The responses sound so sure, so right and somehow still so varied: you're apt to marvel at what we think about that we're never invited to say out loud. This is one of my favourite things to do (and probably the reason why no one ever wants to sit with me).
Last week at a couscous restaurant in Paris, a beautiful retired woman told me to believe in destiny, that life never truly becomes fixed or definitive, and that after 30 years of marriage there is usually no love left. Her husband left her for someone he loved when he was 20 years old, and she is happy.
"Are you going to tell your daughters this?" I asked. They're both slightly older than me.
"Of course not." She laughed that cool, distant laugh of untouchable people in very old movies. "It's good to have delusions in youth. And if my husband had never left me, I would never have met my friend Boris." She motioned to the orderly, grinning man across the table. He used to be a professional water skier, and he let me look at all his ski licenses.
Two days ago in Switzerland, another woman told me that the best way to raise your children is not to make sacrifices for them. "Don't neglect them, certainly, but no one is grateful for a martyr, and it isn't right to be one," she said. She and her husband of twenty years raised the twin girls she had with her previous husband.
Asked whether she believes people can be "sure" they've met The One when they've met them, she nodded but doesn't believe there's stock to it. "I was sure of my first husband," she said. "I felt all the things I'd never felt before: the need to love and be loved, to have children. And the moment I was pregnant and we had to make decisions together, I realised I made a terrible mistake. Love takes maturity, and true friendship at its core. We weren't friends."
The current husband is a freelance director, and they travel together to work on projects. Her previous husband found someone else and had another set of twins: boys this time.
And last night over dinner, a thirty-three year-old man with youthful eyes and an azure blue tie leaned in and suggested we may be extraterrestrials, that what we perceive to be reality - this waking life outside our dreams - may not be objective reality at all. I laughed because he hasn't seen Inception yet.
We spent most of the night discussing God and serial killers.