Monday, February 16, 2009
Holiday Mayhem Part 2
Hmmm, seeing as how it’s already February, I guess I should finish part two of Christmas. The problem is that most of the Christmas details are getting a bit fuzzy now… What I seem to remember of my actual Christmas is warm and fuzzy like any Christmas should be, although definitely a bit different with the snow interference. Of course, I mean warm and fuzzy in the Pickett sense of the word, which definitely included a Christmas documentary and music video performed by my sis and me. (no, I wont be showing the music video publicly, and yes, I do have it on tape) We tend to take literally the phrase “party like a rock star.”
Matt and I (aren’t you proud of my correct grammar Matt?) didn’t let the oceans of separation get to us, we skyped our way through the winter holidays. Gosh, I love skype. And I love Matt—what a great combo! And after 150 or so invitations started (the number got more and more blurry as we got more and more tired of folding those awful things!), I found myself packing up a whole lot more things than when I came, and heading back to France.
Once in France, Matt and I had our own type of celebration. Notice our Christmas tree to the left. No they don’t all run that small or glittery in France; but hey, we liked our little tree. So, after spending lots of money at Christmas what seems to be the most logical step next? Why spending more money of course! You’ll understand when I explain to you that twice a year France just goes overboard on sales.
I mean really overboard. The government only allows them to do it twice a year so they’ve got to “profiter” whenever they can! Which means that every Parisian shopping center is packed to the rafters (if they have rafters in France) with greedy, aggressive, bargain mongers. Unbeknownst to Matt and I, we chose the first weekend of the sales (they usually run a month long) to go. At one of the most popular shopping centers: Chatelet Les Halles.
Let me tell you that when I say the word ‘sardines’, it’s really not that much of an exaggeration. It was war. I went head to head with French mamas and their wailing children and I’m still not sure who won. What is clear is that we successfully found Matt and entire work outfit (suit, shoes and all) for 100 euros. Not too shabby, although it did take me two scoops of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and some serious rest time before I was ready to talk to Matt without that whinny tone in my voice.
It was an odd day though. While Matt was in line to pay for some shoes, I found another pair that he might like and was attempting to reach him when the sales associate saw my plight. Taking the shoes from me he whisked me to the front of the store with lots of “Excusez-moi, S’il vous plait!” aka “Out of my way people, I’ve got a loud voice and I know how to use it”. Of course, I started to panic when I realized how embarrassing it was going to be to explain in broken French that I hadn’t really wanted to buy them, just show them to my fiancé. Oddly enough, he must have considered his job finished at the counter because he just dumped them on the counter and took off. I did likewise as soon as his back was turned…
The next incident occurred during my trip to the bathroom. Right in the middle of crashing energy levels, I needed to go to the bathroom. No biggie, of course that meant another line and more money to pay, but all was going along okay until I exited the restroom and saw no sign of Matt. Not knowing when he was going to be back I attempted to appear nonchalant amidst the crowd while waiting for him. All of the sudden I felt something smack me upside the head. Glancing to my right I noticed a (presumably) homeless man talking to himself and replacing his hat back on his head—the guy had walked up behind me, taken off his hat and whacked me with it! I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry or do both at once! I decided that since I would probably see more of the humor in the situation later, the crying one would work better for the moment, and maybe earn me some sympathy points with Matt for my stinging head.
Alas, I wish I could stop there. Unfortunately, I am just a magnet for unusual occurrences. After parting ways with Matt, I took the metro back to the institute. About 2 minutes after exiting the metro, a man stopped me on the street to ask for some directions. Being in a hurry, I hastily told him my best guest and went on my way. About 10 feet away from my final destination, I suddenly found myself accosted by a barrage of questions from two French policemen! One whipped out his badge with enough finesse to make any CSI actor proud while the other asked me if I knew the man I had just talked to, if he had bothered me in any way, what he wanted. I think they were a bit disappointed when I replied that he had only wanted directions, but that didn't stop then from pursuing him down the street after their little “chat” with me. I don't think I ever will find out just exactly why they were following him...