day 12

it’s official—my extended family is now fully informed of my situation and my whereabouts. what a load off! quel soulagement! “what had happened, right,” is that i sent a birthday card to my aunt…from london. i was pretty sure the card’s origin wouldn’t go unnoticed and that i would be forced to answer a lot of questions as a result. well, the conversation (with my grandma) has now taken place, and i couldn’t be more pleased at the outcome. grandma totally understood my leaving and was even supportive of my travels. woohoo! now if only the ‘rents could feel the same.

in other, more paris related news, the third roommate has now arrived. colette* has her hair buzzed low all over, à la G.I. Jane, and had another girl with her. right now, five will get you ten that she’s gay. not that there’s anything wrong with that…i’m just saying.

on the non-gay news front, i went out yesterday evening on a desperate hunt for some gruyère. (suddenly i can’t find it anywhere. wtf?) so i’m strolling down rue de clignancourt, and it’s like every other guy i pass is giving me the ol’ bonsoir eye or beckoning to me to come speak to him. i don’t know where it was coming from; it’s not like i put on a spritz of Charlie before i went out or anything. the only thing i could think of was…le chapeau! ahh, oui—i didn’t feel like dealing with headbands and such, so i put on my jaunty american snap-brim hat. and of course we all know, courtesy of “sixteen candles,” that a girl in a hat is just so…vogue.

so the hat and i dip into a grocery store on our gruyère hunt, and it is there that we experience our very first Complete Language Barrier Holla. i’m walking down the aisle, and this brotha (can you call a black frenchperson that?) does a double take. “shfeisf civjlséj ajvidjav d;lei à la vivjejvv fjidçse jviej! fjeiowjfâv l’ejfievéw!” he says to me. or at least this is what it sounds like to me.

naturally, i start shaking my head immediately and reply “je ne parle pas français”—‘cuz that’s what i do. he does one of those “eh?” sounds that french people do so well, and i add, “anglais?” just for good measure. now he does one of those “ah!” sounds that french people also do very well.

“you…,” he points dramatically and nods, “…uhh…very good!” he exclaims, his eyes bright with admiration. he then adds “j’méfais chisia uiafm l’bianciwèaf” or some such—just a’prattling on. i shake my head. “español?” i ask. “ahh…poshito, poshito,” he says, which i understand to mean “a little bit” but sounds more like portuguese to me. he then rattles off some more french, and i am now bored of the situation. he gestures for me to meet him at the front, and since that’s where i was stinkin’ going anyway, i begrudgingly oblige.

in line at the register, i am able to ascertain that his name is felix and he is from guadaloupe. i learn through more gestures and the words “you…et moi…very good!” that he thinks that if he were in charge of the alphabet, he would put “u” and “i” together. i also learn, through the international hand sign for phone, that he wants my number. i would have tried to explain that i have no french phone number, but the bigger issue seemed to be that, even if i did have one, uhh…whut thee fock would he say to me on it? “im-poh-SEE-blay,” i attempt, “je ne parle pas francais!

“ah…[more unintelligible french here] [hand gesture moving from low to high]…poshito, poshito, poshito,” he explains. okay—so i will learn french, little by little, if i kick it with him. got it, felix. thanks. merde—i just wanted some gruyère. from now on i will either have to leave my hat at home or learn how to say things like “my sign is STOP” in french.

*not her real name. duh.

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