Monday, March 9

New Necklace

The street I live on in Paris has multiple Middle Eastern eateries and West African electronics stores. There are also two major French-chain grocery stories, one hip bar, and a handful of mild-mannered homeless people that I've come to recognize. Everyone on the street looks different from everyone else; presumably, rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis is the only Parisian melting pot.

Down the block there's a store that mainly vends evil eye amulets on varying decorative strings. As soon as I saw the store I wanted to buy the biggest, heaviest one and start wearing it around as a medallion, but there's a lot of voodoo around them. They're meant to block away the curses cast by people with particularly strong glares. The Greeks believe they're as harmful to the people who are cursed as they are to people who cast the spell; Muslims put the pattern on the wings of their airplanes. It's common to find a girl wearing a bracelet with small evil eye charms, but they're always modest. Legend has it that if you put a piece like that on yourself, bad luck will follow you everywhere. How would my neighborhood, with so many differences and proud nationalities, respond to my jokey jewelry?

I went to the store when I saw in the window that they were selling gold bells on thin yellow ropes with plastic beads in primary colors. I bought one for 2€ and wore it home with earbuds plugged into my iPod so I didn't notice that I was ding-a-linging. I've since gotten into the habit of stuffing the bell with paper. But right before I pack my things, I'm going to buy the prettiest evil eye in the store for when I'm back in the US, hanging out in places with like-minded people and a culture of tolerance for anti-religious behavior.

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