Thursday, January 12, 2012

Strange morning (true story)

Today was a very odd day.  I should really say, morning since the bizarreness was put to an end when we finally (!) returned through the doorway at 12:30pm.   I woke up exhausted having slept like shit and could just tell that things are going to be off-kilter. 

That is also one of the interesting things of life in a big unpredictable city.  You gotta be firing on all cylinders to maneuver through the metropolitan landscape -particularly a foreign one .  If not, strangeness can ensue.  Some of the strangeness is self-imposed and some of it is unexpected/uncontrollable.  Today, I had self-imposed some minor agony on myself when I agreed to loan our pac-n-play to a fellow French student whose daughter was coming for a visit, with a baby.  Today was delivery day.

Before leaving, I  realize that I cannot bring Sabine to her play place AND carry the pnp with me.  It is much heavier and cumbersome than I anticipated.  I will have to return home to get it to bring it to class.  I drop Sabine off, go home get the damn thing and head to the bus stop.

After a while, I see the bus (happy me) and it is coming fast down the street.  So fast, in fact, that the driver chose not to slow down and pick me up (enraged me)!  Under a normal, non pnp-carrying day, I would have walked to the metro.  At a steady clip it takes about 8 minutes.  But today, I barely had the energy to make the decision to continue waiting.

So, I keep waiting.  Then a woman shows up to wait for the bus.  I always use this quality one-on-one time to practice my french.  I mean, they are stuck there - and have nothing better to do either ... we talk about random stuff, buses, drivers, the moon, pronunciation, etc.  The bus comes - bringing me to the metro and as soon as I hit the bottom step of the platform, the metro doors shut and off it goes.  I miss it by about .005 of a second.  I get on the next one which brings me to my class and then I walk the 5 blocks to the class carrying this heavy, huge thing dodging the obstacle course that is the Paris street.  I arrive 30 minutes late.  The teacher, whom I LOVE beyond measure, laughs and says, well at least you arrived after me this time!

Sadly, as I had not slept well the night before, I could barely comprehend what was going on around me.  The words coming out of my mouth were all garbled.  I knew this class was going to be a wash.  After the class, I do my marathon rush back to pick up the kid.  I am supposed to pick her up at noon, but the journey can take up to 40 minutes even when the stars aline and I get all the metros and buses I need immediately.  This has happened, and let me tell you, there is a little rush of victory when you show up at a bus stop and the bus pulls up within a minute.

This brings us to self-imposed strangeness #2.  Because today after class, I decide to very quickly stop into the bakery and get a chunk of raisin bread for Sabine.  On Thursdays when I pick her up, she acts as though she is starving and I didn't feed her breakfast.  She will repeat, "mange" (eat) "pomme" (apple) "banane" (banana) and any other kind of food word that she knows at a faster and more fevered pitch until the tears come and she has a total melt-down.  So, even though I fill her up before leaving and only about 3 hours has passed, she simply must eat almost immediately upon pick-up.  But don't you know, Hicham has taken all the cash out of my wallet and left me with his credit card (I lost mine last week) and there is a minimum of 10 euros to use your card!  So, as the line behind me begins to grow, I have to quickly decide what else to buy at lightening speed.

If you ever go into a French bakery, you will see the French at their most efficient.  They do not think about what they are going to buy.  They are not at all like they are in the cheese shops where they taste, discuss and ponder their purchase.  They say their order (not having even glanced at the offerings, because they KNOW), the lady gets it (and it is ALWAYS a lady), they have the correct change usually, and they are out the door in 10 seconds.  See, me even being there was putting a cramp in their style as I looked for something healthy for Sabine and then (gasp) didn't have the cash to pay for it and then had to peruse the glass, shelved counter to as fast as I could find enough stuff to buy at a bakery that would cost 10 euros.  Why didn't I just say, oh pardon me, and leave instead?  I have no idea.

So, carrying a giant bag of bread with nuts, a piece of quiche, a raisin bun and a chocolate bread, I left the bakery.  Wouldn't you know that by the time I got to the cross walk, the guy BEHIND me in the bakery was already in front of me?  Oh la la - all he bought was a baguette.

So, I get to the metro and again, just miss it!  I, inevitably start eating whatever I touch in the bag of carbs and butter.  When I metro arrives, I get on - but at some point it stops and we are all directed to get off and wait for the next train.  Everyone is pissed and grumbling.  This takes another 5.4 minutes.  I am starting to really panic now.  I still have to get out of the metro, get on a bus, walk to the play place and get Sabine and it is already 10 after!  Well, at least I am not hauling that damn pac-n-play anymore.

Amazingly, at the bus stop, the bus I want actually arrives within 2 minutes and within 7 minutes I am walking up to door of the play place.  After I walk in, I hear Sabine tell one of the ladies that she has to pee-pee.  I step back so she can't see me.  She pees, and I hear her say, "wow! super!" in her most Frenchie accents (wah-ow soup-air).  The lady says, there is someone here.  I wish I could say she runs over to me all smiles, but no - that is rarely what she does.  She gets out her biggest sad face, starts to pretend cry and shuffles over to me and says, "mange?"

Ripped up paintings on sidewalk

Example of unexpected strangeness.

Why would someone do this?  I know there is an artist who sells his paintings like this, not sure why though.

No comments: