A few hours ago, I drove down to the village of Pont-en-Royans to drop in on my local physician, Dr Xavier Limouzin. He was as proud as a successful angler to have guided me wisely, over a period of several years, into an expert medical context in which early traces of prostate cancer have been detected. At a practical level, this means that I'll no doubt endure an operation in the near future. My youthful mustached doctor (a distinguished member of the local fire brigade, and an amateur of antiquated motor cycles) leaned back in his armchair and allowed himself to be carried away by the apparent beauty of such a surgical intervention: "It's an amazing two-man team effort. The urologist operates with a colleague. They showed me a fabulous video that demonstrates how it's done." In watching Dr Limouzin describe with enthusiasm the work of his specialized colleagues, I had the impression that I was maybe missing out on some kind of superb Spielberg production, and that I should order immediately the DVD through Amazon. "The only access they need is a tiny set of holes in the lower abdomen. Once they've got their tiny instruments inside, in the prostate region, it's beautiful to see the way they operate, as a team." OK, we're surely talking about a couple of Olympic ice artists such as Torvill and Dean, or maybe a Russian/American pair of astronauts repairing their space station. Maybe, I thought, this expert couple fiddling around so aesthetically in the region of my old-fashioned sexual apparatus might be attempting to create an artificial offspring, possibly a monster.
After bidding farewell to my adorable doctor, I was halted by a minor catastrophe at the exit of the village of Pont-en-Royans, on the road up to Gamone.
While I was chatting about prostate surgery with Dr Limouzin, a giant rock had fallen down from the Baret mountain (which I observe from my bedroom window). After the impact, which would have surely squashed any automobile that happened to be moving up the road at that instant, the rock disintegrated into several fragments, one of which halted on the other side of the road, while the others jumped over the parapet and descended into the Bourne. As my friend Natacha put it, with what I see as a Marseilles sense of judgment, when I told her this anecdote on the phone: "Obviously, for God, your hour of doom has not yet come." Thanks Natacha, thanks God.
Seriously, life is fragile. Isn't it? Beautifully fragile. That's what makes the whole thing so amazing... whichever way you look at it. Meanwhile, if I were serious, I would start to think about looking at things from the point of view of those two surgical artists whose skill consists of being able to eliminate the bugs and other cellular intruders in my lower belly.
Shit, when I think about it, if Limouzin's conversation had bored me, and I had left five minutes earlier, my fucking prostate might now me some kind of French pâté spread out over the macadam on the road from Pont-en-Royans up to Gamone.
I love life! It's so unpredictable. Lively, as they say.