“…je comprends, madame!”

June 11, 2007

ever since i was a kid, i’ve always removed my shoes before entering the house. it’s just one of those things that i do subconsciously. although my standards have been relaxed to a small degree regarding this rule since living with my folks, the thought of keeping one’s shoes on in the house is a pretty gross one. also, keep in mind that my w.c. keeps flooding (with clean water, thankfully), meaning that it’s necessary to go into the toilet with one’s shoes on, a not-inconsiderable inconvenience.

so there’s this miserable old woman with nothing better to do than lecture me based on my habit of keeping my shoes on my shoe rack neatly placed outside my door (à la japonaise). even worse, she goes to complain to the concierge about my practice.

am i blocking anyone or anything? nope. no way. i live in a cul-de-sac of sorts…my section of the building is my section of the building, and there’s no reason to go there besides to see me. but with the flooding in the w.c., i’m not going to do as she says. i’m going to keep my shoes outside until someone complains, and then i’m going to explain that it’s disgusting and that i’ve lived my entire life this way.

the sow decides to complain to the concierge again. my concierge is this really nice old guy. a bit particular, but always smiling. after an embarrassing situation between simon, matt and sarah, the concierge and the sow (with me in the shower, naked and helpless to do anything but listen to what’s going on), i figure i’ll smooth things over directly with the concierge later.

i knock on his door and explain myself to him, apologising about the incident. he gestures to come a bit closer so he can talk to me a bit softer, then proceeds to explain that, while the sow is technically in the right, she’s crazy and if she weren’t there, it’d be absolutely no problem with him to leave my shoes outside. i tell him about the plumbing issue and why the shoes are outside, and he offers a compromise solution: take the shoes inside in the daytime and leave them outside at night. he then says that the french are not always the most reasonable people in the world and that i shouldn’t take it personally at all.

i love my concierge. he is, as erin rennie would say on occasion, le awesome. now, all i have to do is convince him that i’m not german (as he seems to think for some reason).

there’s this café near my place that i tend to go to fairly often. i suppose that, more than anywhere else in paris, it’s “my café” – much like jj on commercial is “my café” back home.

let’s get one thing straight. there’s not a whole lot of special drinks here in paris. (to illustrate this point, when sarah asked how one orders a mocha in paris, my my reply was that one doesn’t). it’s pretty fair to say that, with the exception of at starbucks or something equally american, the french drink their coffee the same way they did about a century ago: small and strong. same goes for le cocktail: you have pretty much the same drink menu in every restaurant, (blonde, blanche, pastis, some kind of scotch, armagnac, vermouth, in addition to whatever’s in the cellar) regardless of how expensive the joint is. seriously. i bet that the construction worker in saint-denis drinks the exact same brand of pastis as catherine deneuve does in nice, even though she probably pays about three times as much for the priviledge.

also, there’s the classic french café, the brasserie, which are all virtually identical to one another, no matter where you are in the country (just for the record, a brasserie back home is just a restaurant with a fancy name that serves too-expensive bar food). you know the type if you’ve been to paris. they’re walking around with white aprons and black vests, an army of penguins, fighting hunger in the most classically french way: with slight disdain for their clients and impossible superhuman efficiency. (i’ve always admired career waiters for their tenacity.)

anyway, what i’m saying is that virtually every café is identical in terms of what’s on the menu. so one could expect that the geographical location would have more to do with which people go to which cafés in paris. right?

or could it be something else? could it be specific scenes? much the same way as aaron from delta goes all the way to west van in order to get his caffeine at bean? or why does the starbucks at the (southwest) corner of robson and thurlow attract a small harley-davidson convention every day, while the other one remains untouched by burly older men in leather?

why has my café become my café? why this one instead of the handful of others within spitting distance?

of course, it’s in no small part because of the cute waiter that i come back. what can i say? sex sells. be funny to be one of those folk that does it just by being themselves…or at least playing something or other up.

sigh…be even funnier to be one of those folk who work.

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One Response to ““…je comprends, madame!””

  1. Milan Says:

    Useful intel for anyone likely to spend time in Paris.


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