Thursday, January 17, 2008

"La Vie en Rose"

Just so you don’t get the false impression that I have seamlessly transitioned into my life in France, I’m going to share with you a perfect example of the little everyday mishaps that make me want to do karate on these French bastards people.

Anyone who has lived in France for any amount of time knows all about 3 Suisses and La Redoute. The only American thing I can think to compare it to would be perhaps the old-fashioned Sears catalog. Two times a year nearly every household in France is delivered a fancy new plastic wrapped catalog that is approximately the same size as a dictionary. From this dictionary catalog you can order damn near anything.

“Want a machine that vibrates the fat off of your jiggly ass? We got it!”

“Want a machine that vibrates other parts of your anatomy? We got that too!”

Seriously, I think they even sell glass eyes out of these damn catalogs, but I digress.

Now, since I’m 50% agoraphobic and I also hate to shop, I thought I’d give the catalog a try. Plus I had recently received a coupon with a discount code. So 3 days ago I log onto the website, place my order, and choose a “Relais” location to have the order delivered to. “Relais” delivery is cool for 2 reasons: One, instead of the items coming directly to your house, they go to a designated delivery location and you can pick them up any time you wish. This is great for folks like me who rarely keep a normal schedule. And second, the delivery fee is only 6 euros no matter how much crap you order.

Ahem, and now we get to the heart of the matter. The problem with the “Relais” locations is that most of them are tobacco shops or news stands. And I don’t know how things are in your corner of France, but the “Tabacs” around here are places where you only go if you need to buy a lottery ticket, cigarettes, or you want to catch a case of Hepatitus B. Maybe they exist, but I have never been in a nice tabac, and the people that work there really are so shifty-eyed that I can’t believe they are even allowed to handle money. I mean, can they even read, let alone count? But yet again, I digress, we’ll get back to that point later.

So today I go to pick up my package. I walk into the tabac and I am immediately impressed by the smell of what must be a subtle combination of ass and stale cigarette smoke. I hand the snaggle-tooth, mullet-cut heifer at the counter my ID card and low and behold-- my package isn’t there. “I have nothing. Nothing!” Madame Snaggle-tooth repeats two times as though she is doing a dramatic interpretation of “Gone With the Wind”.

I leave the store pissed off at La Redoute, Madame Snaggle-tooth, France, The Universe, and who ever else I can think of while I'm searching for my car keys, but I am also suspicious that Madame Snaggle-tooth is bluffing.



After driving home and verifying my on-line order again, I go riiiiight back to the tabac and I hand Madame Snaggle-tooth my ID card again-- Only this time I spell out my name slowly, letter by L- E - T - T – E - R for her, because I now realize I am talking to the village idiot. One must be brief and direct with the mentally challenged I suppose.

“Oh. Well you should have given me your name before.” Madame Snaggle-tooth says.


Now, in my head I was thinking:

A.) “Wow. Reading isn’t a requirement to work here? Cool, can I sign up my pet monkey?”

B.) “This is a lovely career you have here. Your parents must be so proud!”

And last but not least simply:

C.) “Bitch. Can you read?”

Now, the old Madame K might have actually said D.) all of the above insults, but the new Frenchified Madame K said E.) none of the above things. Instead she smartly replied: "Oh yes, Madame. Now I understand perfectly."


Experience and Perspective I suppose.

For the most part I have surrendered to the subtle insanity that is living in France. I may never understand these people and why they do the things they do. I may never understand how their minds work, nor will I ever be one of them. It is what it is. And I am who I am. And by realizing this one simple fact--I have already won.

Really and truly---It's all good.

And anyway, who can stay mad when I scored all this cool booty with my La Redoute discount! In total I got 2 duvet covers, a set of flat sheets, and 3 sets of color coordinated pillow cases for the 300 pillows I keep on our bed. Also as a free gift I scored these cool plastic plates that are NOT safe for the microwave or the dishwasher and are probably made out of poisoned Chinese plastic!

Oh wait! How could I forget my second free gift? I also scored an absolutely gorgeous Star Academy necklace! Just what every 30-something woman needs. And frankly the necklace makes dealing with that snaggle-tooth, mullet-cut heifer almost worth it!

And now...

Vive La France!


Megan said...

Oohh! Let's see a picture of the necklace!!! (oh, and that video is painful)

Madame K said...

Megan- your wish is my command. Star Ac photo added.

Leah said...

Umm, I liked Maureen (I mean that blonde girl whose name I shouldn't know), but she was a leeeeetle too full of herself. Congrats on conquering over the snaggle-toothed monstre!

Travel said...

Are you sure you are not living in West Virginia?


Jennifer said...

Your post made me laugh out loud. Thanks, I really needed that!

cindie13 said...

I want you to know how much I love reading your blog. This post made me laugh out loud. I've never been to France, but your adventures (misadventures?) make me want to leave Ohio and see a bit of the world.

Madame K said...

Leah- I heart Bertrand and his one weird eye.

Travel-- At least if I lived in West V.A. I could find peanut butter at the grocery store. *deep sigh*

Anyway, glad I could amuse so many with my douleur exquise.

Anonymous said...

i died for that performance!! but they talk too much on star academy. i lived in belgium at the time. now i´m in madrid. fama--a dance version of star academy-- is my new obsession.