Ryan Alexander-Tanner

My European adventure has come to end, FOOLS. It's over. As we speak I'm on an airplane from London's perpetual moisture all the way back to Los Angeles' ceaseless orangeness. It was a damn trip of a damn lifetime for me, the first damn time I ever travelled for non-stand-up comedy purposes since I was a damn child. I've already (kind of) written about London and (very blunted) Amsterdam, or as I like to call it Amsterdamn, which is short for "Amsterdamn, I smoked too much weed and I have no idea how food delivery works in this foreign city."

The final leg of my journey took me to Paris, France, Europe (EARTH). My ancestral homeland. One of my ancestral homelands. Jews get chased around a lot. Which is a fact that, both subconsciously and CONSCIOUSLY, informed the fuck out of my journey through the City of Lights. Paris is an old city, ancient actually, actually ancient. The modern businesses that occupy the weathered buildings seem insignificant and temporary. There aren't many structures in Paris that were built, specifically, to host a Zara or Starbucks. The daily necessities of modern life are mostly jammed into whatever was there. I'm not saying this is better than how we do it in the United States—I have no opinion on that—but what I'm saying is it becomes remarkably easy to lose track of the era you're occupying when you walk down the streets.

Paris' intoxicating timelessness is no new subject, I know, but I tried to succumb to it anyway. I walked to the part of the city in which my family used to live, near the Bastille Tower, and tried to imagine what it would be like to be a Karmel (then Katz) in the '30s, '20s, '10s, etcetera. It was exciting at first, until it felt completely useless. I've been searching for a connection to the extended family I never got to meet, that never got to exist, ever since I found out the Holocaust killed/prevented most of them. Wandering the streets they used to wander gave me no satisfaction, only tired feet. The buildings were beautiful, but they were just buildings. If the walls could talk they would just say, "Hey, yeah man, sorry... there's a, uh... there's a kebab shop here that's pretty decent now if you're into that." The kebab was good as hell.

The trip wasn't a wash, though. The Louvre is unparalleled. Seriously, the only thing close is the Musee d'Orsay, which is literally close, right across the river. The people are beautiful. The food is AS MOTHERFUCKING ADVERTISED. You can spend an entire evening sitting outside a cafe sipping red wine, lazily pulling apart a board adorned with charcuterie and cheese, and then follow it up with a Campari. And I did, too. I did all that.

And that's when I finally felt connected to my ancestors. Just living in the city, doing nothing important, but doing it with complete comfort, no stress, not an ounce of fear. It's the kind of harmless shit the Nazis never wanted to happen again, and my fat Jewish ass was doing it. I like to think somewhere, my dead great uncles were fist-bumping, up there in that heaven we don't really believe in as a people.