I finally found a moose in Paris.
I had been searching for one for quite a while in the US and elsewhere, but no luck. Then, on our last day in Paris, I found it.
Let me explain. I am talking about a T-shirt. I had bought one years ago in London at a newsstand. The moose T-shirt -- white, with the brown face of moose staring out -- became my sleeping shirt. Let's face it: We all have familiar articles of clothing we don't want to part with, and for me it was the moose T-shirt.
The problem was, that was five years ago and the moose T-shirt was getting a little raggedy around the edges. "Let's throw it out," said my wife every time it went through the wash.
I said, "No, I want to keep it."
Then, a few months ago, knowing that we were going to London and Paris, I thought it was a perfect time to scour the newsstands on Regent Street and find a replacement for the tattered moose T-shirt.
In London, we stayed at The Soho Hotel, a trendy new property right in the heart of the theater district. The large sculpture of a cat in the lobby was not a good sign -- there was no chance I would find the moose T-shirt there, but the hotel was great, with spacious airy rooms that featured canopied beds and dressmakers dummies. The bar downstairs has become a hot spot for the after work crowd. There was even a rumor that Ben Stiller and David Schwimmer were staying there, although we never saw them.
We headed out in search of the moose T-shirt. Now, obviously, it's not the only thing we did in London -- we ate at some great restaurants and went to see some great theater in the West End, but wherever we went, I had my eye out for someplace that was selling the moose T-shirt.
Sadly, no one was, not even the newsstands I had counted on to re-supply me with my favorite sleeping shirt.
The next stop was Paris, the City of Light not Moose. We stayed at Hotel Le Bristol, one of the most elegant hotels in the city, and struck out, again in search of adventure and also a moose T-shirt. Paris's newsstands were, not surprisingly, moose-free also.
In a few days, we moved to the Marais and checked in to a lovely small hotel, the Pavillon de la Reine, which looks out on the Place des Vosges. This section of Paris, near the Bastille, has also become quite trendy. The hotel has cozy rooms with low ceilings and wooden beams.
We ate at some fine small cafes, we walked along the Seine, we even bought some prints at the bookstalls (Jim Morrison posters are still very big), but, again, no moose T-shirt. It was very discouraging.
Then, on our last night, I was thumbing through a city guide called "Paris Voice," and I saw it: An ad for The Moose, a Canadian bar and grill, which featured a cartoon-ish moose as its logo. Better still, the ad said that they sold T-shirts.
After dinner with friends we announced that we were heading off to The Moose to buy a moose T-shirt. I'm sure they thought we were totally cracked. They nodded as if they understood (they have three small children), but I noticed they got into their taxi rather quickly.
At The Moose, we saw several moose T-shirts hanging on the wall. We told the bartender what we were up to, and he quickly produced two moose T-shirts, an extra-large for me and a large for Lisa. We knew they would shrink in the wash. He even bought us a drink to celebrate the occasion.
I must say, they were not the ideal moose T-shirts, at least not like the one I had treasured all these years. But I knew they would do, at least until I could resume the Great Moose Hunt another day.
We packed and headed back to the Los Angeles.
Now, for the surprise. While we were waiting for our luggage in Los Angeles, I spied another passenger who was wearing a moose T-shirt that looked almost exactly like the one I had bought all those years ago in London. It was brown with a dark brown moose.
Before I could make a move, my wife said, "Don't." She knew full well what I was up to. So I resisted the temptation to run up to the other passenger and ask him where he got his moose T-shirt (London?) I simply admired it from afar.
After we got home, I found that the new moose T-shirts we bought had shrunk too much in the wash. They were uncomfortable to wear at night. So now, after all that, I am back to wearing the original moose t-shirt, the one I bought in London five years ago. It's got a few holes in it, but it will do for now.