playing air guitar

Roberto Loiederman

has been a journalist, merchant seaman, TV scriptwriter (Dynasty, Knots Landing, Days of Our Lives, Father Dowling, Guns of Paradise, etc.), kibbutz cook, deli owner, documentary film producer and writer, and some other professions he’d rather not remember.

He’s had more than 200 articles and stories published in the L.A. Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Penthouse, Jewish Journal, The Forward, and many other literary magazines you probably haven’t heard of. One of his stories, Before Me Today, was included in the Hollywood anthology, “The Way We Work.”

He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2014 and 2015, and is co-author of The Eagle Mutiny, a nonfiction account of the only mutiny on an American ship in modern times. For more info, please visit: www.eaglemutiny.com

Memoir

Playing Air Guitar in Paris

written by Roberto Loiederman

As a young man, Roberto Loiederman read Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, and George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, which inspired a dream: to be broke in Paris one day. In his 70s, as a tourist in Paris, a sudden event gives him the chance to live out his youthful dream. Temporarily, anyway.

This is a story about how we are all pretenders, to one degree or another.

© 2018 Robero Loiederman  | Recording © 2021 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

A week after we arrived, my wife went to Israel to visit her family, leaving me alone in Paris. The day after she left, I started early and walked for hours, heading toward Montmartre. When I got there, I was exhausted and looked it: a sweaty 72-year-old tourist; a turkey fit to be plucked.

That’s when it suddenly hit me: I was in Paris, and I was broke. Broke! In Paris!

 

I stumbled down the steps and walked into a restaurant. The owner was preparing the day’s menu. I tried to get his help, but he waved me away: He wasn’t going to let a desperate tourist interfere with his lunch business.

I heard a cuckoo sound in my head, over and over:
You sap! You sap! You sap!

playing air guitar

Roberto Loiederman

Roberto Loiederman has been a journalist, merchant seaman, TV scriptwriter (Dynasty, Knots Landing, Days of Our Lives, Father Dowling, Guns of Paradise, etc.), kibbutz cook, deli owner, documentary film producer and writer, and some other professions he’d rather not remember.

He’s had more than 200 articles and stories published in the L.A. Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Penthouse, Jewish Journal, The Forward, and many other literary magazines you probably haven’t heard of. One of his stories, Before Me Today, was included in the Hollywood anthology, “The Way We Work.”

He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2014 and 2015, and is co-author of The Eagle Mutiny, a nonfiction account of the only mutiny on an American ship in modern times. For more info, please visit: www.eaglemutiny.com

Q&A with Roberto

Tell us about your story...

After renting an apartment in Paris for a month, I’m at Montmartre by myself when I’m sprayed with something and become dizzy. Once I recover, I feel my pocket… my wallet’s gone! How could this happen to me, a savvy world traveler?! The next day, while waiting for money to be sent to me, I realize: Hey, I’m in Paris and I’m broke — a lifelong dream of mine!

What's your favorite word?

Macanudo. Pronounced mah–cah–NOO-daw. Argentine slang meaning great or cool. My late father used to say it whenever he really liked something or was happy. I like Spanish words or expressions with four syllables and the accent is on the third. Another one is sinvergüenza, which means scoundrel: my father called me that with a joking/smiling wink: seen-ver-GWEN-sah.

What are you most looking forward to, post-pandemic?

We just got a new A/C system put in, so I’m looking forward to having friends over, and we can stay inside my nice air-conditioned house instead of having to be outside in the heat.

What fact about you would surprise people?

In my early 30s, I was in a puppet show for kids in Rio de Janeiro. Let’s see, I played a frog, a chicken, a bear and a few other creatures that, oddly enough, spoke Brazil-accented Portuguese.

What's the funnies thing that's happened to you recently?

I started baking during the pandemic, and no matter what comes out of the oven, I pretend to enjoy it.

Coffee or tea? Whiskey or Wine?

Coffee. I love everything about coffee. I have a hand grinder, so I grind the beans every morning and get a bit of cardio. I figure it costs me about 10 cents for a cup of coffee, and I get so much pleasure out that dime: grinding it, French-pressing it, heating the milk, then sipping it piping hot (no sugar!) and only 10 cents. Iwish the rest of life had that much of a return for investment.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I started making ice cream at home about a month ago, and I realize that it would be a holy exercise, a way straight to enlightenment, to go on an ice-cream-only diet.

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