One time, many years ago, I bought an Atlanta Rhythm Section record solely for the song "Alien" in which the pinnacle line was "Feeling like an alien." As I recall, the rest of the record was underwhelming but that line has come back to me a number of times over the last few years living in France.
Now ... I like France, I like the French, and I like living in Paris. But sometimes, the alien-ness hits me. Usually it's a very basic situation like arriving at the Franprix checkout having forgotten to weigh my sweet potatoes and forgetting the French for, well, "I forgot to weigh these sweet potatoes." ["J'ai oublié peser ceux potates douces" for those of you scoring at home. And no, I don't know why the French use "potate" for sweet potatoes while using "pomme de terre" for normal potatoes.] Anywho, it's a pretty exposed, embarrassing situation. The checker just wants you to check the hell out!
So today: role reversal. I was in a San Francisco Tumi store checking out some brief cases where 2 French dudes were shopping too. They didn't speak any English and, so, they were having no luck interacting with the sales staff. I said "pardon" as I slipped past them and, based on that one French word, 10 minutes later they approached me and asked me to explain US pricing and sales tax. This, of course, is a bit puzzling to Europeans because, in Europe, the taxes are embedded in the advertised prices whereas, here in the US of A, we add taxes as a surprise at the register. That led to a 15 minute French conversation on various topics. Turns out they were from Nantes - and so SF was kind of a big city experience for them.
Well anyway, it was kind of a cool karma moment or a marker (or Ebeneezer for those of you scoring from church). Aliens. Yeah. Sometimes I am one. Other times I can minimize the sensation for someone else.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Scott had an outstanding idea to catch some live music today. So we took in a baroque organ/trumpet concert at L'Eglise Saint-Louis en l'Ile. It was a great concert inside an impossibly beautiful building. And I can't think of a better use for that setting than quality, live music.