February. Paris. I'm walking along the Seine River to meet up with some Canadian friends for dinner in the first arrondissement.
As I make my way along the river, the setting winter sun casts a warm glow across the Haussmann-style boulevards, making the moment, well... pretty awesome.
Feeling the moment, I decide to cross the river on the Pont des Arts, a pedestrian footbridge, to watch the sunlight slip away. Originating in the 19th century, the Pont des Arts bridge has gone through a few iterations before arriving at the modern steel version that I was walking on. It's prime scenic location that has also made it a favorable place for artists, and more recently lovers, who attach a padlock to the metallic fence. The couples then subsequently toss the padlock key into the Seine, leaving their love "locked" within the city forever. Obviously Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca weren't the only ones to have a monopoly on "We'll always have Paris". In fact, quite a shitload of people chain up their love here on this poor old bridge.
Alas, despite my singleness in the city of lovers (sigh) the bridge at sunset was undoubtedly amazing. Standing there in the winter breeze like any other tourist, I had a moment. Yes, I'll admit that. Cliche as it is, I had a moment, and I'm not going to be embarrassed about it. There, now you know. A roller-coaster of self-reflexive philosophical meanderings passed through my head. I thought about my life, career and took in the breathtaking sight.
CLICK. At that instant the lamps on the bridge lit. Darkness was creeping in and the lights were turning on as they do every other night, but the timing was absolutely perfect. This was my moment! This was my scene! John Dion was in Paris!
And at that instant I looked down... and saw it.
"Dion"... my last name....
WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?
Why is there a padlock with my last name on it right below me?
I looked around, exasperated. IN THE THOUSANDS OF OTHER LOCKS ON THIS BRIDGE WHY DOES THE ONE RIGHT BELOW ME SAY "DION"?
This was my moment! This was my scene! And this son of a bitch "Dion" was stealing my special moment. Of all the bridges, in all the cities, in all of the world, this fucker and his lover were standing right here before me. I couldn't claim this place, this view, this moment as mine. Nope, they beat me here by 3 months. Plus this couple probably passionately made-out right where I was standing...
I clutched my heart. Couldn't be. Thoughts raced though my mind. Naturally I looked at the date and then the calendar on my phone. No, time travel was not a possibility, I remember what I was doing that day. Ironically, that Saturday I was working with a friend on a film project when he turned to me and said, "Hey dude, I gotta run now, have a date tonight."
REAL fucking ironic. He had a date to go to on THE EXACT SAME DAY that the other fucking Dions were right on this damn bridge probably having a true love moment. Probably slobbering all over each others' faces, RIGHT HERE. I stepped back from the railing, wiping my hands on my jeans at the thought. Disgusting. Exhibitionists probably.
I raised my nose and shook my head is disdain.
My "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" time travel scenario was dead and so was my heart.
Then that's when it hit me. The date was not European. "Dion" is indeed a French name. Okay, I can accept that. A French couple in Paris. Pretty damn standard, can't complain. But the date of a Frenchman would read "22-10-11", not "10-22-11". This guy was most likely from North America. A foreigner invading my claim, my land, sticking his damn flag into the turf 3 months before I got here. This is even worse than I first realized. And I bet his other half was hot too. Probably a smart, beautiful, and accomplished woman.
Damn you Dion, damn you.
At that moment...
I decided that HE needed to be stopped.
Yes, the world is indeed too small for two Dions.... yes... I needed to find this fucker.
A quick Google search of "Dion Paris bridge", "10-22-11 Dion" and all other combinations of words provided no results. I searched Flickr, Facebook, Google and photo sharing sites for this other Dion. No luck.
Great, the one time in my life where I decide to be an internet stalker, and I can't "stalk" successfully. Wonderful.
Nothing. No photographic evidence of a smoking gun. No photo of this couple slobbering over each other on the damn bridge. No information on who exactly these other "Dions" are. No opportunity for me to sit in the dark in their living room like some gangster in a mob film. The dude would then turn on the light and say, "Who are you!? And what are you doing in my house?!". I would respond cooly, "Recognize THIS, Dion!?!?" and hold up the padlock. "Looks like you should cover your tracks better...". His face would drop. Seeing this I would throw the padlock into the raging flames of a nearby fireplace with an evil grin on my face. I would then walk over and whisper into his ear, "Paris is my town... stay out Dion!". Locking eyes with him, I would calmly walk out of the house in slow motion with cool theme music pounding. Yeah, real badass music playing like in Inception.
But alas, Internet... you have let me down. Fortunately or unfortunately I am no internet stalker and that moment on the bridge will remain their moment, not mine. There is only one "Dion" on that bridge... and that "Dion" is not me.
That night I sat with my Canadian friends in the restaurant. I slowly ate what turned out to be the best French onion soup of my life. Savoring every bite, I simultaneously thought about this other Dion. Who was he? What's his life like? Does he even like French onion soup, eh?
I will never know. But perhaps the world is indeed big enough for two Dions to share that bridge?
I thought about it... Yes, maybe we can share that bridge...?
I finished my soup and set the spoon down. I then calmly wiped my mouth with the napkin and decided... no.
NO. The other Dion is my Nemesis. My sworn enemy. And one day we will meet to battle to the death. That's the only way it can be.