lundi, novembre 14, 2005

The French Call It "Le Karma"

A few days ago, I wrote a little something about "The Frog & Princess Pub," a nearby watering hole that caters to English-speakers and student types (and, yes, Dear Wife and I fit that profile as well as anybody). I was denigrating their attempts at self branding, mocking their line of beers with names designed to showcase their mascot, a drunken frog. My criticism was mainly the similarity between “The Frog” and all those grasping micro-breweries we left behind in the ‘States. But y'know, God bless 'em, they are meeting a need, filling a niche, serving a base, etc. I say that now, after being struck by the wrath of the Frog...

It was a day of strenuous moving, and afterwards I’d rushed myself and Dear Wife over to The Village Voice English Bookstore—I was hoping to pick up a late-arriving gift for D.W.’s birthday—the second boxed set of The Complete Peanuts from Fantagraphics Books, (a great collection). But Vincent hadn’t received the box yet, and in apologizing, he comically let the secret out, saying, “Right, it was the Complete Peanuts Boxed Collection—no it’s not here, but maybe tomorrow—and you needed it for a gift, right…wasn’t it for…?” his voice trailing off a little as he looked at Dear Wife standing beside me. Then he realized, and was mortified. But we didn’t mind a bit, and it made for such a funny reaction from Vincent. Dear Wife was so happy about the present, she told him that now she has a double pleasure, the delight learning of the gift, and then anticipating its arrival.

Dear Wife and I were hoping for a quick meal. When you step out of The Village Voice, you are practically facing The Frog, and knowing that Dear Wife had been hoping to resample their fried shrimp won-tons for a month without success, I suggested we take advantage of the light crowd inside and have a quick meal. But I was uncomfortable going into the place so soon after writing about it so dismissively.

An aside: here is a shot of my new boots. They look a little pedestrian, but that is just the point—they dress up, they dress down, thay are perfect for me. You can't see it, but they have a snazzy toe that tapers, which creates a nice tension with their hearty profile. And I love the little touch of the striped canvas heel-pull, colored to commemorate their Swiss origins. These boots are the Second Big Purchase for me (the first was a cashmere zip-front sweater, in fact purchased as a gift for me by Dear Wife). This Parisian milieu is having its effect....

We took a table in the back, and the staff seemed especially solicitous. Though it had been at least a month since we'd dined there in the evening (our one and only nighttime visit), our waitress from that visit recognized us, came over to our table, and began flattering Dear Wife mercilessly. Straight off she saw that Dear Wife had a new haircut, and she complimented it sincerely. I was amazed. Now, if the difference between the two cuts had been severe, this would still be impressive, but Dear Wife had only had the same cut trimmed--it did look better, mind you, but for this girl to seize upon the difference so cannily--and so quickly--left me even more unsettled. And poor Dear Wife, she dislikes that sort of attention, and she looked as uncomfortable as I felt.

But still. This was very nice of the girl. And it was nice to be remembered.

So we ordered a bunch of appetizers, including the fried shrimp won-tons with sweet-and-sour sauce, and waited for them to appear. As we did, we looked around at some of the previously mentioned beer tanks, shiny stainless steel back in the section where we sat, and un-branded. No frog faces declaring their flavor, or flavour, I mean. One said "Hot Back Liquor." As I examined these tanks from my seat, I saw a sudden dark movement out from beneath one of them. A mouse, small and charcoal colored, was racing from the cover of one tank to the safety of the wall-sink's underside. Dear Wife didn't see this (thank God), but she saw my eyebrows shoot up, and an astonished look come over my face. "What?" she asked.

I decided there was no way to tell her what I'd seen and still enjoy our meal, and I didn't see any way to leave now. So I just told her, "Uh, that thing's labeled 'Hot Back Liquor'! Can you believe it?"

Well, I should have taken it as a warning.

Our food came out, four plates, which were too many for our small table. The food runner, a jolly fellow of indeterminate language, but proficient in English, said he'd grab us another table. He found a free table against another wall (dangerously close to the mouse--I said nothing), and, setting our won-tons down on its uncluttered surface, lifted it and turned to carry the whole thing over. But the table tilted slightly, the plate of won-tons began a slow slide to the edge, and as he stopped the plate's progress, the cup of sauce popped off the platter, and landed face down on the floor with an audible splat, sending a long tongue of sauce flying from the impact.

And where did that sauce end up?

A two ounce dollop landed square on the back of my calf, on my newly tailored and pressed pants, with a trail of red stuff tracing a line down the back of my leg to the floor. Included in this line was my new boot, with an expertly landed glob staining my natty little Swiss canvas heel strap.


I see. This is how Karma works.

I think we got it all pretty well cleaned up. And while The Frog may deign to flatter you, they didn't deign to comp us even one drink, even as restitution for their faux pas.

Frogs and Moose, oh have I felt your wrath.


At lundi, novembre 14, 2005, Blogger Scott said...

hey, are there any french and english radio stations streaming on the web (not that I expect you to be an expert off the bat, just curious as I want to teach my son some other languages)

also, I can show you how to turn those 'edit me' buttons on your blog into whatever type link you want.

I don't want to charge for it, it's just one of thiose things I like to see made more user friendly.

my contact is at my blog if you are interested.

enjoy France


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