Visual Flaneur

Whilst rooting around in my cavernous shoulder bag this morning…can’t even remember what I was looking for now..I rediscovered the scrap of paper upon which was scratched the web address of the Austrian scientist I met outside a camper van in the Mission (San Francisco).  His easy manner, propped up against a chain link fence, appearing as comfortable as he might have been nestled into deep downy pillows,  had drawn my curiosity.  On his lap was a large sketch pad.  Upon it, the black outline of the ropey old van was emerging.  We chatted a while.  I probed him with questions…’what are you up to?’, ‘are you an artist?’,  ‘what brings you to San Francisco?’ , ‘do you have a blog?’,  He tore a page from his journal, full of jots and jibes, and wrote the name of his website, and  presented me with a new word.  Flaneur.  ‘What does it mean?’, I urged him to tell me. He tantalizingly refused to tell….’ah, you will ‘ave to research it’, he said in his lilted accent.  I repeated this new word over and over in my head as I resumed my wanderings…  I even mimicked his accent as I made a littly ditty of it silently to myself.  I could have roamed the streets saying it out loud for everyone to hear.  I probably wouldn’t have even garnered a backwards/sideways glance but I kept it to myself..a little box, tied with ribbon, waiting to be gently untied and released along a new neural pathway, constructed especially for it, as soon as I could get home and Google this beautiful, edible word.  Flaneur.  

Back in my room, I booted up my laptop.  Excited.  Tapped in the letters.  Wikipedia sat at the top of the list of 1,390,000 returned results.  I was enchanted, delighted, cock-a-hoop to read the explanation..

The term flâneur comes from the French masculine noun flâneur—which has the basic meanings of “stroller”, “lounger”, “saunterer”, “loafer”—which itself comes from the French verb flâner, which means “to stroll”. Charles Baudelaire developed a derived meaning of flâneur—that of “a person who walks the city in order to experience it”.

Discover more here…it is fascinating reading  ….

I had uncovered a name for myself…of the doings I am compelled to do each day.  I, like my European street friend, am a  flaneur.. or perhaps a flaneuress!  Even better.  Fla   neur  ess.  Poetic, don’t ya think?!

So, getting back to this morning, as I’m propped up in bed, multitasking with the Food Network feeding me recipe tidbits, and my clicking back and forth between web browser and my pages of research, Oliver’s scribbled web address now being nudged by the breeze curling under my open window, I present you with the sketches of Oliver’s..flaneurings.

The very same van both Oliver and I were enchanted by


You can see more of his art if you click right here…    enjoy..Thank you Dear Oliver.  I’m happy I flounced by whilst we both were flaneuring and filled a moment with you.  

If you want to read the original post of the day I happened across Oliver, do a little click here…

Time to shower..get dressed..put on my walking shoes..San Francisco is staging another beautiful day out there and I’m off to flaneur its belly.

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3 Responses to Visual Flaneur

  1. Hi India, it was so nice meeting you the other day. Thanks a lot for the coverage, I am glad you figured out what a flaneur is. Such an inspiring term, isn’t it!
    You are a very good writer, I’ll try to do you justice in one of my next installments. Hope everything is fine with you and you are enjoying the San Francisco sun.
    Greetings and keep walking those hills,
    Your visual flaneur

    • indialeigh says:

      Dear Oliver, I’m so happy you read the post and enjoyed it. Meeting you, and discovering a word which encapsulates ‘me’, was a gift.
      May you always be inspired by your scientific curiosity..and life!

  2. Pingback: San Francisco’s painted ladies: painting with the ladies « visual flaneur

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