When I visit the U.S. and go shopping and the lady at Banana Republic/Express/Ann Taylor/Victoria's Secret/Bath&BodyWorks asks me "Can I get your email?" I have to say "No" and then she says "It is just for our internal purposes" and then I say "I don't live here" and then she says "we have stores all over the U.S." and then I say "I live overseas" (because if you start with "I live in Paris" somehow you just automatically sound like a real bitch). And then the lady at the counter gets all excited and says "oh, where do you live?"
And then it starts.
"Oh Really!? Where?"
And then I can't lie even if I do try to soften the blow for this girl who probably started taking her first French class at 13 and has dreamed of the Eiffel Tower since she was 10.
"Oh you must love it there!"
Yes it is all pastries and wine and stinky cheese all day long in Marie-Antoinettes gilded bed surrounded by expensive ultra-cool splashes of black paint on a white canvas - otherwise known as "Modern Art"! It is like Disneyland for adults!
"The pastries are really good"
"It must be so cool!"
And then I can't take it
"Actually it is gray skies 85% of the time, people still can't throw things in the trash or pick up after their ridiculously fluffy, small dog droppings, and people are angry all the time because they are stuffed like sardines into tiny metro cars where many people forget to use mouthwash or completely refuse deodorant. But the pastries are really good"
And then she gets that look on her face, like B when I want to talk about anything serious, - like
"that girl just killed my dreams."
I can now say that I love the architecture, the art, the food (in most restaurants), the countryside and châteaux but only because I have learned to accept the other parts AND been assimilated into this theater play full of rules of social grace - yes before I actually ate my hamburger with my hands (gasp!) instead of cutting and eating it with my knife and fork. (How gauche of me, I know.)
I've gotten rid of my nice girl (I locked her in the closet).
And I know how to get things done. Nice girl had tire tracks and boot prints on her face. Sorry nice polite girl, but you can't kill them with kindness here. You must move so the rest of us living in Paris can cut around you in line and demand what we want using insults and ridiculously obvious "carressing" compliments, alternately.
But I digress
So maybe don't ask for my email address lady. And if you come over here, don't be sad. There is still the opera/eiffel tower/La Durée and Notre Dame - you just have to accept that your dream is also stinky, angry and a real bitch who will cut in front of you in line if you take your eyes off your goal.
You are welcome.