Analog Tweets from Paris – 9-15-2011

I had wanted to get these up sooner. Two things happened: one of my camera batteries burns out way faster than the other, requiring me to do a full recharge of both batteries every night. Second, despite Paris’s heavily wired reputation (just about every student in Latin Quarter is glued to his/her smart phone) the Hotel Abbatial St. Germain caters to tourists who are NOT of Mike’s and my nature. So wireless and Internet access, not so much a priority to them. They didn’t even notice a problem until I called to notify them. While most of the staff is very sweet, there’s one young guy – the youngest – who is the stereotypical French rude guy. He’s annoyed I haven’t learned proper French, and while he’s not directly mean, he did a poor job of masking his anger when I spoke with him about the wireless situation last night. I had spoken to his coworker earlier in the evening, and she sweetly advised me to wait an hour. I waited three hours, having come to understand French time frames differ from North American ones – and since it was latish at night, I know there desk wasn’t that busy, so when it took almost three minutes to pick up the phone, I was unsurprised by the shortness and snapping. I don’t blame him about the speaking French thing – I am trying, but I should have studied a bit more before my trip. While I’m well aware of this attitude and was before I came, it’s still frustrating to me because in the States, most people delight in opportunities to use all the languages they know because of the significant benefits to the brain.

Mike is also feeling out of his element. He’s used to operating by being somewhat oblivious to people, and he was much more blase’ about the French study than I was before we came here. I think now he feels awkward; to me, it’s just another rehearsal. Mostly people are very sweet, but I have to admit I am still outright traumatized by that crazy woman on the train who was making the throat-slit gestures at me. While I’m having a good time, I am very aware that some Parisians have a bit of an abreaction to me, and I am bewildered as to why. There are plenty of fat Americans around, but most of them have not had multiple men do double takes, and one guy actually got a scared look on his face and pulled his children closer to him. No, I’m not wearing my pentacle – I outgrew those behaviors years ago, and I’m in a foreign country, a bad time to test the waters of my own subculture. The most information I got was from an English teacher working in France who was appalled by my train story – results not typical – and a few French people who tell me simply that they can’t quite place me as “American.”

You will need to click on the pictures to be able to read them. Not much I can do if you find my handwriting difficult.

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