mardi, septembre 13, 2005

Tuesday is Mardi

Last night we resisted the overwhelming temptation to sleep until 9:30PM, which is just after nightfall here. Once all was dark we gave in to magnificent slumber, not stirring once in our heavy, dreamless sleep until the next day.

3:30 the next day. 3:30 PM, or 15:30 as they say over here.

That was some kinda sleep!

After 18 hours motionless and unconscious, we rose stiff and bodily disoriented. Food? Let's go out. Just down our quiet street (disorientingly quiet--"Does anyone live around here?") we came upon the noise and bustle of bigger avenues. In the midst of this pie-sliced intersections of Rue Monge, Rue Cardinal Lemoine, and Rue des Boulangers is a preeminent delta, and on this sits the Café du Cardinal. It looked mighty fine.

And it was. In the spirit of a new life, of starting over, I ordered a salad with ham, potatoes, tomatoes and egg, no coke, a cappuccino, and a litre of Badoit sparkling water. Dear wife had tea and the Omelette du Cardinal (3 eggs, chicken and ementhal cheese and tomatoes). The bill came to 28 euros. There was some smoking around us, but in our expansive mood, basking in the newness and endless possibilities of what lay beffore us, we were untroubled by this, each of us silently noting our ability to withstand second hand smoke while eating. "This is fine--in fact, it's damn good!"

Despairing over getting our alleged internet connecction running, we walked down to a cyber café just across the street from our apartment. We used one of their PC terminals, (which was strange to use, after years and years on Macs--"So this is how the other half lives. Huh. Tough fer them.") and with a little trouble, we were able to get our email. A young man ran the place, a slightly built asian guy with a hip haircut and outfitted in the current interrnational uniform of the acceptably hip: a nylon tracksuit top, tee, jeans with a modest flare that brushed their frayed hem against his bright fashionista running shoes. So the guy looked absolutely indistiguishable from many many guys I would encounter daily in San Diego, esp. in the hipper areas of town. And so often had I spoken to these guys ("Can I have that Chai with nonfat milk?") and so often had their voices answered, all sounding exactly alike--kids raised in America, of mixed race parentage (I don't know if that's unPC to say, but I felt uncomfortable just typing it--"I mean no disrespect!"), which is to say american kids, with all the self-conscious posturing and pronunciations endemic in their age group.

So it was very disorienting to see one of these guys over here running a cyber cafe, and though I ventured to speak to him in French at first, it was sort of a sham, and I expected him to reply in broken French just as unruly as mine and then he'd begin telling us how to log on and how much they charge per hour in that perfectly predictable American English hipsterease.

But of course, mais non, he spoke French and only French, and when my French failed me (somewhere after "Bonjour,") he was left to speak in low tones that I found completely incomprehensible. He looked just as confused when I spoke English.

Thank God Dear Wife was there.