Wednesday, 13 June 2007

An evening in Paris

Bon soir, monsieur!” said the waiter, “Est ce que,” he continued, “je peux vous servir quelque chose à boire?
“Eh?” I replied, being unacquainted with the vocabulary of la langue française.
“I mean to ask, monsieur,” said the waiter, translating to help me grasp his intentions, “if oo wood lyke sumzin zoo rink?”
When light finally dawned upon my slow intelligence, I nodded affably, as I did require the soothing effect of the restoratives. And the waiter ambled off to fetch the same.

This was my sojourn into Paris, la ville de l'amour, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. But there’s something about Paris that always makes me feel fairly devoid of espièglerie and joie de vivre. I think it had something to do with the fact that I don’t like it when people speak in French, which, unfortunately, was, apparently, what Paris was full of. Oui, les gens qui parlent français.

But, now you, the reader, must be thinking as to why should I, having acquired a dislike of la ville de Paris, should go there in the first place. That, mes chers amis, will be revealed, and not quite unlike a mystery novel in which a certain chappie murders one other chappie and another chappie, being the protagonist of the novel, successfully endeavours to put the chappie, which had murdered the other chappie, in the dock, later in the story. So, there I was, after a nice, long walk through the streets of Paris and having drifted to one of the twelve cafés which jostled each other along the street, enjoying some much needed repos.

Waiting for the arrival of the stimulants, which I had previously ordered, I cast a relaxed, cursory glance over the other customers du moment. My roving eye found its destination upon a rather youngish lady, who could have well been the prototype of that particular class of the species which I had alluded to as the YHF in one of my previous posts. A singularly pretty lady. Magnifique is the word to describe her. Nay, un ange de ciel would be a more apt description. And the heavenly powers seem to have been making up for my misfortunes (about which you’ll come to know later).

There are certain moments in life when words are not needed. I looked at her, she looked at me. A perfect understanding linked our two souls.
One minute later, I had joined her at the table and had engaged her into a tête-à-tête.
Bon soir,” she said with obvious pleasure, or so it seemed to me, “Comment allez vous?
I replied with my most amiable of grins and a 5 second silence.
“Oh, you don’t know French, do you?” she enquired, this time, thankfully, in a language I was well versed in – English.
I shook my head to indicate a negative response.
“I had asked you, ‘How are you?’”
“Oh, I, actually, am lost”
“What do you mean lost?”
“I came out for a walk,” I explained, having found a strange reassurance from the company of a soul who could speak in something other then French. Her being a good example of the class of YHFs, was an added incentive. “And suddenly discovered after a kilometer or two that I didn’t know where on Earth I was. I’ve been wandering around in circles for hours.”
“Why didn’t you ask the way from someone?”
“I can’t speak a word of French.”
“Well, why didn’t you call a taxi?”
“I don’t have a lot of money with me right now.”
“You could have taken a taxi and then paid it when you had reached your hotel.”
“Yes, but I suddenly discovered, dash it, that I’d forgotten its name.”

And there in a nutshell, you have me. As absent-minded and vague a person as ever walked the streets of Paris, or Earth for that matter. Anyhow, we proceeded with our conversation.

“So, what are you doing here in Paris?” she enquired.
“Well,” I said solemnly, “I’ve come here to try and forget.”
“Well, you’ve certainly succeeded.”
“You don’t understand. The fact is, my dear, that my heart is broken. I’ll tell you the whole story.”
“No, I say!” she protested. But I was off.

(to be continued.......)

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