2003-03-19 - 8:13 p.m.

Every morning when I wake up I try to channel the Frenchified version of myself, try to morph into a person French so that it makes it a little easier for me to walk down the street. I am one of those terribly self conscious people who needs to FEEL confident in order to BE confident...anyway, apparently I did a fine job of morphing this time. Last time I was here it was almost three weeks before people would start addressing me in French, three weeks before I got rid of that obvious, "I'm not from here," look. But today it is only eight days since I arrived here and I had people talking to me left and right. Which is good because that means I am no longer identifiable as an American...but bad because with my cartoon/guidebook level French I have no idea what they are saying to me and I panic and can't even think straight in English let alone try to figure out what to say back...

So after today's experiences I feel I owe some people an apology.

First I would like to apologize to the womean in the yogurt aisle. I didn't mean to look at you like you were crazy when you asked me of the yogurt I was picking up was better than the stuff you had in your hand. To be honest with you I had no idea that I even had yogurt in my hand, when you asked me the question I was still trying to ascertain what sort of food stuff I was holding in my hand. And to be honest again, I am really not quite sure that you were even asking me if the yogurt was good, that's just what I think you said...but you might have asked me what time it was for all I know. I was caught quite off guard and it took me a moment to get my bearings and by that time I had already given you that look and you had already opened your eyes wide at me and wandered away shaking your head. So, I'm sorry I wasn't collected enough to tell you that my French sucks.

Second, I would like to apologize to the woman who had the unfortunate luck to witness my infantile/giggle/clappinghands/sheerjoy/stupidity when I picked up a box of Tampax and saw that they were FRENCH Tampax, the whole box is in French! I can't help myself, I get excited about shit like that. I am sure she has A. never seen someone get so excited about a box of tampons and B. probably never wants to see that again as long as she lives. So again, I got the wide eyed look of disgust, as I did from the yogurt girl, as she walked away shaking her head. And while I'm on the subject of my infantile excitement...I apologize also to the women I nearly hit in the head with my happyclapping hands when I found the aisle full of TIGHTS. I'm talking COOL AS SHIT TIGHTS. Not just black, brown, navy maybe patterns and stuff...I'm talking about purple checks, pink polka dots, foil looking pin stripes, crazy triangles and the ones I now have on my legs...the silvery kind of gray with big fuscia roses...COOL AS SHIT TIGHTS and I will buy every single pair they have before I go home. So yes, I apologize to that woman too.

Fourth, I apologize to the woman at the window of the jewelry shop who may or may not have been talking to me. Today as I was gazing at some truly spectacular jewelry in a window and old women with a dog wandered up and without looking at me, or at the dog, started talking. I heard the words, jewelry, pretty, expensive and too bad. So I assume she was talking to me, telling me it was too bad the jewelry was so expensive because it was too pretty...but she could very well have been talking to the dog...I had no idea so I just wandered away

And finally I would like to apologize to the mailman. As I was coming around the corner of the building I saw him standing at the door trying to get a key to work in the lock...I knew he was having problems and would ask me to help if he saw me so I tried to sneak away but he saw me just as I was slinking back around the corner and started yelling, "Madame?! Madame?! Something, something keys...something something?" I think he said his entry key wasn't working, could I let him in so I just hung my head and said the one word I am good at, "Oui." But I ignored the rest of whatever he was saying to me because I just couldn't take it any more.

And I would have liked to apologize to the group of boys that were taking up the whole sidewalk making me have to veer of the brick and walk on the street, (trying to avoid puddles of any sort because they might very well be PEE), because I threw them a very, very mean look...but only because as I passed them on the street I noticed what they were doing. I am not sure if this is popular sport in France, but they seemed to be having a very good time doing it...they were all in a circle and in the middle was a cigarette butt and they were taking turns spitting at it, apparently trying to hit the butt with their chunk of lung slime. So gross. So I would like to apologize to them for the evil evil eye I gave them, but I just cannot because I really don't like spit and I wasn't too pleased about having to walk in pee either. So fuck 'em.

So that is that. I had a lovely day today. I wish I could write and write about how perfect the days are here, the things I do in my solitary hours...but I just don't have enough time to do that. Even having a simple say is filled with so much detail that there is no way I could ever put it all down in one entry.

I am no longer as desperately homesick..but I am still not quite all "here". And I need my cats. If I had my cats I would be fine. If I could just TALK to my cats I might be fine. You know...I can talk to my mom, my friends, but I can't get my cat on the phone to tell them how much I miss them. That really sucks.



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