Monday, May 17, 2010

Walking the Streets Where the Sun Doesn't Shine

I was sitting in the police station yesterday with my friend Jenn and we were telling stories to each other which made us laugh in only the way happy people are able, then suddenly our joy was doused by the woman sitting at the reception desk in her slacks that were too tight in unmentionable places, and too short for her sling-back sandals that obviously hurt her feet as she dragged them lackadaisically across the floor. I'll get back to why I was in the police station in a moment, but for now I would like to carry on remarking on the odd experiences I have been privy to here in Paris. The French people who are in my circle of friends and most acquaintances of theirs are exempt from the slander I am about to spew. There is something psychologically defunct with most of the people in this country (or perhaps it's mainly Parisians). In all of my Freud and Jung studies I don't remember anything specifying the psychosis of the inhabitants of this country, but surely they had opinions on this very strange population. Perhaps it's very French or stereotypically American of me to complain about them, but I am sick to death of being told what to do at every moment, that I am always wrong and that happiness is seen as something dreadful. Yes, I come from a country of loud-mouthed, rarely well spoken or educated peoples, but seriously who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade? I suppose I should thank the woman from yesterday as she has inspired today's writing, but CHRIST ON A CRACKER I wish I'd had either the French vocabulary to hand out a tongue lashing or at the very least a spitball shooting device to knock her down a notch or two. In all fairness I do have a rather boisterous laugh that tends to ring throughout any corridor I may inhabit, but why is that something that should be seen as a horrifying crime? I should have asked if there was a law preventing laughter, seeing as how I was in a local precinct. This was not the only offense or odd occurrence I had been witness to this week. Recently I went to the movies, and before buying my tickets from the man at the counter, I arrived with my shitty ipod headphones in my ears (I have broken both pairs of expensive earbuds, therefore forcing me to use the less than acceptable Apple ones) and before I could even ask for two tickets he scolded me for having them turned up so loud as it would most certainly cause my deafness. I am never sure of what kind of automatic reaction comes over my face, but I think it was probably the ever so diplomatic charming smile which covered up my internal monologue that spat with the fury of an Italian mother whose daughter had become pregnant out of wedlock. "Excuse me you grumpy-middle-aged-worker-bee, you are employed by a movie theatre and are wearing a royal blue polyester blazer that is only a wise fashion choice due to the certain drippings of popcorn butter you are about to serve that will surely come out in the wash with greater ease from that material." Yes, it's condescending and elitist of me to say, but what I really wanted to say was "back the fuck off and mind your own business." Or as I have recently learned 'MĂȘle-toi de tes oignons' which after a fantastic round of etymology with a friend, have understood it to mean, 'mind the manner of your own buttcheeks.'

Before you fret that the reason for my sitting inside a police station had anything to do with my behaviour, let me ease your mind. Jenn and I were there in support of another American friend who had found himself in a precarious predicament two nights before. He also faced some French resistance on his way home, unfortunately for him it was in the form of a prickly police officer instead of a mere minion. Everything worked out, as he was only required to pay 100 euros directly to the officer with whom he had had the altercation. Forced bribery it would seem. Nonsensical country.

Alright, back to the previous rant. Although my living space is humble at best, I do happen to live in a very affluent area of Paris. Every other car is a Porsche or Aston Martin and when I walk outside it appears I have been dressing myself at a homeless shelter in comparison to the designer frocks, shoes, and bags I see walking down the street. However, as we all know, having an endowed bank account cannot buy one manners or propriety. I am constantly befuddled how every Monday morning without fail, I walk down my street to the boulangerie and seem to come across a minimum of three dried raw eggs that have been smashed to bits on the pavement. It's bad enough one has to take care with their step due to the steaming piles of canine fecal matter everywhere, but this just seems excessive. I could go on a few tangents of speculation, but I'd rather roll my eyes, shake my head and move on.
The most appalling thing I have been witness to (other than during cold season when people couldn't seem to keep from blatantly using their fingers to scrape the inner walls of their nostrils) was on my way home from the grocery store on a Friday evening when people are rushing about trying to get out of town for the weekend. There was a car double parked outside of the market and being packed by a mother and father. The mother was standing next to the car and patiently waiting for her four-year-old daughter to finish urinating in the street. There she was, bare-butt and squatting for the world to see in the middle of a crowded scene. I was completely dumbfounded. Granted, I don't have children and am sure there are memories of my own childhood which may have eluded me, but I can hardly fathom that my parents would have allowed me to behave in such a manner (though they weren't exactly able to contain many of my actions in the first place). I do have one friend - and when she reads this she'll know I'm speaking of her - whom I have witnessed on more than one occasion, relieving herself betwixt two parked cars throughout the streets of New York City. So, of course when I saw this little girl recreating that scene, I admit it did bring about some laughter and nostalgia for my lovely friend.
I still have not completely made up my mind about this country, other than I know I hate the weather in Paris. What in the hell was I thinking? It's almost the first of June and there is a small chill coming from outside my window, covered in clouds that will most certainly threaten the afternoon with rain. This California girl needs some warm weather and the ocean. Screw the seasons, I'm tired of them. Seasons are for people who need an external force to determine the motion of their routine. Give me the sun and an excuse to wear nothing but a piece of cloth tied around my body any day.

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