Why am I here?

It's been a long time since we spoke last. I've been thinking about you  a lot lately. Not much has changed there I guess. I wonder where you are and how you are doing and... well, I wonder  a lot of things. I wonder those same things about myself actually. Where am I? I guess the short answer is that I'm sitting by myself in the corner of Le Cafe Zephyr. Le Cafe Zephyr, a quaint little place on Boulevard Montmartre. I think you would like it. I've been living in Paris for about... four hours. It's been a long four hours. I'm hungry.

A woman approaches me. And a beautiful woman at that. Something isn't right here. I look over my shoulder but there is no one else around. She stands over my table looking down at me.  She's starts talking to me for some reason... I'm guessing she must be the waitress.

Waitress: Du café?

Coffee? I don't drink coffee, it's a religious thing. How do I say that?


OK, there is really no need to say all of that. Just say no thank you.

Me: Non, merci.

That was easy enough.

Waitress: Qu'est-ce que vous voudrait comme boisson?

Me: Ummm.... 

What did she say? I really have no idea, my very limited French comes from two years in middle school and thirty half hour lessons from Pimsluer. And to be honest, I just kind of skimmed those lessons. Just nod and order something to eat, I tell myself, she'll understand.

Me: Deux oeufs s'il vous plaît. Avec pain. Un croissant?

French, Conversational: Learn to Speak and Understand French with Pimsleur Language Programs (Pimsleur Instant Conversation)
Waitress: (she blinks/she stares) J'ai pas compris.

Me: (I blink/I stare) (and then I say nothing)

Waitress: What do you want?

Me: Eggs.

She gives me a weird look then turns and starts walking away. I would like something warm to drink. Winter in Paris might not compare to winter in the high Rockies but it's still cold.

Me: Mais, Je veux... chaud... um hot chocolate?

Waitress: Un chocolat chaud?

Me: Oui. Merci.

 She nods and leaves me in my corner. Why am I here? Short answer is because the Starbucks down the street didn't serve eggs, and the Hardrock Cafe next door doesn't open for another half hour. Was it ethnocentric of me to assume that they would speak English at Starbucks. The waiters speak French at the fancy French restaurants in America. Or is that only on TV. So weird that this waitress speaks english, but they didn't at the starbucks. They probably speak English at Hardrock, I doubt anyone goes there but tourists. Do the French even have a word for hamburger? Maybe I'll go there for lunch. Anyway, I'm rambling. I just wanted to write to say hello and... 

Who am I kidding? This letter is more for me than for anyone else. I'm the only one who will ever read it, and I'm certainly never sending it to you. What am  I doing here? The most romantic city in the world also happens to be the loneliest city in the world when you have no one to share it with. Welcome to The City of Love.

The waitress returns with my hot chocolate and a croissant. She sets them down on the table. Then she bends over my table to tell me something. Look, I'm not a pervert or anything, she just happens to be wearing a low neck shirt and bending over right in my face. I think she's doing it on purpose. And she smells like... good... like way better than I expected French women to smell. This is the first thing I noticed about the French. For some reason I was expecting them all to be... well, unshaven, unwashed hippies. Is that not a real stereotype about European women, did I just make it up? It's obviously not true about the French.

Waitress: Enjoy your meal.

She smiles. I smile. Actually, I think I've been smiling this whole time. She has a very heavy accent. Is that what I sound like to her? She turns and walks away, but she'll be back with my eggs. Thank heaven for eggs. Did I mention that she was beautiful? Welcome to The City of Love.

Yours sincerely,   

Currently Reading:
Journey to the End of the Night (New Directions Paperbook)

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