I remember that strange motel on the outskirts of Paris, though not its name, where we stayed during our last vacation together. There were no human beings working there; the doors and the shared, purportedly self-cleaning bathrooms worked - or did not work - automatically. When we first opened the curtains in the morning (we had arrived at night), for a brief moment we thought we had a beautiful view of the city. Then, what had looked like houses came into clearer view and revealed themselves to be graves, indeed a city of graves, stretching all the way to the infamous périphérique. There were figures walking among the graves. They looked like astronauts in large white spacesuits. All of this could have been funny but was, in fact, to us, then, at that time, very depressing.

© 2009–2023, Martijn Wallage