The Wampire Diaries

I adore my friend Laurice for a million different reasons. She’s smart, cool, funny, kind, a wonderful mom, and an unbelievable cook. She’s also incredibly creative and generous — and I’m always grateful when I’m on the receiving end of her creativity and generosity.

Such was the case a few months ago, when she surprised me with a handmade gift. I put Mr. Wampire on my desk at work and marveled at his ability to always bring a smile, no matter how crappy my workday.

I’m not exactly sure how or why, but at some point Laurice and I decided that he should go with me to Paris — sort of like the traveling gnome in Amélie. Mr. Wampire was the very last thing I packed.

He was also among the very first things I photographed when I arrived. I captioned this one “Notre Dame has a new rose window.”

I had fun making him “pose” at a handful of familiar landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum.

But it didn’t take me long to start dreaming up goofy Wampire scenarios. The first of these came during dinner with my friends Chris and Silke, when I asked the waiter to put Mr. Wampire on his tray. To my surprise, the waiter didn’t bat an eye. (Pardon the pun.)

I also approached a couple of cops who were on patrol along the Seine. They looked nervous as I reached into my bag, but they laughed out loud when I pulled out Mr. Wampire and asked them to stage an “arrest.”

I also posed Mr. Wampire with a boulanger (note the tiny apron) …

… a bouquiniste

… a market vendor’s blood oranges …

… in front of a métro map …

… among Paris’ ubiquitous pigeons …

… “performing” with a host of musician friends and buskers …

… horseback-riding at the Parc Bercy …

… and relaxing with a glass of O Positive at my favorite sidewalk café.

Mr. Wampire also provided a bit of social commentary about doing laundry in Paris — and about Parisians’ fascination with monsters and the macabre.

One day, he accompanied me and my friend Henry to the beautiful Schwartzwald (Black Forest) outside Freiburg, Germany. Hats off to Henry for his dedication to wampire photography!

He also spent a day with me in Strasbourg.

But as much as I enjoyed staging these goofy scenarios, what I liked best about traveling with Mr. Wampire was the opportunity he provided to interact. I never would have spoken with the cops, for instance, if not for Mr. Wampire.

Nor would I have met James while climbing the towers of Notre Dame. We had the ultimate “small world” experience when we discovered that his dad is a former colleague of mine at the Star Tribune.

Alas … our journey together is over: Today Mr. Wampire and I returned to the office — and to our respective routines.

But I look forward to traveling with him again soon.

In the meantime, there are many, many more photos and stories to come. Thanks for tagging along.


        • After braving a flock of wild pigeons, I’m sure Mr. Wampire would welcome Magi’s (rough) tour! 🙂

          • And there’s actually a very funny story behind it. I shot it at the Place de la Concorde, which is flanked on one side by the retaining wall of the Tuileries Garden. So I’m down on the ground, trying to get Mr Wampire to stand up, but the pigeons keep knocking him over, right? I kept at it for about 5 or 10 minutes before I had the eerie sensation that someone was watching me. When I looked behind me, I saw that a small crowd had gathered along the retaining wall, and that they were watching me with intent curiosity. I thought about trying to explain, but just waved and smiled sheepishly instead. I wonder how many of them went home and said, “I saw the weirdest thing today.” 🙂

    • Yay! I’m glad you got such a kick out of it! I’ve decided that the vampire goes everywhere with me, from now on. 🙂

  1. Hi Ya! I am rolling on the floor peeing my pants with these photographs! I especially love the one with the “Birds”, you are just lucky one of the birds did not fly away with your Wampire! Once again, thanks so much for sharing your photographs, as I live life through your eyes! Great post! Love you! Val & Nikita

    • It’s always a pleasure to know I made someone personally wet themselves, Val. LOL! It’s funny what you said about the pigeons carrying him off, though: I had the same thought for a (very overly protective) second, until I realized I was being irrational. What would a pigeon want with a stuffed vampire doll, anyway? Ha!

    • My favorite one to *shoot* was the pigeons. They kept knocking Mr. Wampire over — I probably have 20 frames of him lying on the ground, poor thing. And it didn’t even occur to me until afterward that there was a very real risk he’d get pooped on. Fortunately he survived, unscathed. 🙂

  2. Great post, I’m still chuckling. My travel companion is a little troll (from the 60’s). Now I am inspired to take photos with her too! My favorite of Wampire is drinking O positive at the cafe but they are ALL so funny.

    • I’m glad you got a kick out of Mr. Wampire … Taking those photos was so much fun that I’ve decided to never leave home without him again! And yes, please *do* take some photos of your little troll doll — and please send me the link when you post them. It would be great fun to see what Mr. Wampire’s friends are up to, as well. Cheers!

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