Very discombobulating, this living in two places. Left a rainy Paris a week ago, arrived in San Francisco, or more precisely Stanford/Palo Alto, where it was sunny, the hills still summer brown, students in shorts and flipflops. Life gets simplified--there simply aren't so many things to do, which is good and bad. I scrolled through the autumn courses on offer and asked a philosophy professor if I could audit his seminar on language. I'd hardly hit send when I got a message back saying of course, I was welcome, please come. Ah! American positiveness. Yes, yes, yes, everyone says. In France, folks are more discouraging: suggest anything, in return you get half a dozen reasons not to do it and "prendre de l'initiative" (take initiative) is not a compliment but a criticism.