Sunday, July 01, 2007

Cafe Society

I have never been to Paris in the summer. It's always been fall or winter, when it's cold and there are far less tourists. Summer is great here because everybody's out.
One of the things that happen when you come from New York is that you have to adjust your pace. Because here nobody is in a rush. People sit in outdoor cafes for hours and hours and the waiters let you linger until you cry uncle. And if you don't cry uncle you may be stuck there until dawn. You may spend your entire vacation waiting for the check. Once you realize this is not incompetence or personal contempt of your touristy likes, you just sit and relax and watch the world go by, which can be oodles of fun. Yesterday we parked our tired asses at a cafe in the corner of Reaumur and Rue St. Denis and watched. And watched. And watched some more. I went to the restroom and someone had apparently puked the entire contents of a bottle of wine (or more), sprayed them that is, all over the stall (including the ceiling, methinks). I think this is the first time I ever see burgundy colored puke. The waiter, solicitously told me not to get in there (a bit too late, I had already witnessed the disaster) and opened a spotlessly clean loo for me. "It's new!" He tells me in English. It's clean, I retort.
Maybe I'm dreaming, but it seems to me that either the French are speaking more English with less agita these Sarkozy days, or I am delirious. They no longer seem to regard you with open contempt as you struggle to connect in their language and they switch to English instantly, without giving you much of a chance to shine in your "bon jour madame", which is the only thing you manage really well.
So far, lucky me.

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