I am walking through the neighborhood market when I spot France picking through a basket of Girolles (Chanterelles).
ME: What up, France?
I put my hand up for a high five but all I get back is an eye roll.
FRANCE: Bonjour, Américaine. Why is your hand up? You are going to hit me or what?
ME: Like you don’t know what I am doing.
FRANCE: Knowledge is not the same as compliance. Bise like a normal person.
ME: Didn’t you read my last post about that?
FRANCE: Quoi? Of course I don’t read your blog.
France looks indignant before leaning in to look very closely at a mushroom.
FRANCE: …as though I would care what you write about me…
ME: What? I couldn’t hear you.
FRANCE: Of course you couldn’t! I wasn’t speaking four decibels too high; I am sure your Américain ear can only hear sounds that shatter glass.
I sigh and start to walk off.
FRANCE: Quoi? I thought we were having a conversation and now you just walk away without a word. You know, I don’t know why you call me rude… vraiment!
FRANCE: What was that?
ME: Nothing. So what are you getting? Going to have something special for dinner tonight?
FRANCE: I haven’t decided yet. You will have a cheeseburger, non?
ME: Yeah, I eat cheeseburgers all day every day.
I am being sarcastic.
FRANCE: I know you do.
I give France a look but France just shrugs and lights a cigarette.
FRANCE: This is the month of your “Thanksgiving”, yes?
ME: Yep, in two weeks, I’m surprised you remembered that.
FRANCE: Yes, well it’s hard to forget about a holiday based on you massacring a people and then celebrating it year after year by overeating and giving yourselves diabetes. Sort of sticks in the mind.
I roll my eyes.
ME: You know it is actually a really nice holiday. You have all your family around, maybe your friends as well and you take some time to contemplate the things you are grateful for in your life.
France puts out the cigarette and continues walking towards the cheese vendor.
FRANCE: Why do you need a holiday for this? Can’t you just be grateful all year long?
I sigh again.
FRANCE: Do you have a breathing problem? Today you sigh very much.
ME: Maybe it’s all the cigarettes.
I smile sweetly. France smirks and gives me a look of approval.
ME: But yeah, of course you should be grateful all year long – Thanksgiving is just a reminder to really think about it and talk about and share it with those that you love.
FRANCE: Sounds exhausting, you Américains always needing to talk about your feelings.
ME: So you don’t want to tell me anything you are grateful for?
FRANCE: Pfff…I’m grateful to be French, quoi, so I don’t have to go through this stoopeed ritual every year!
ME: MB is French and he is excited for Thanksgiving.
FRANCE: Ah, you mean this man who lived in Australia for 6 years and is now married to an Américaine. Oui, of course he is excited.
ME: We’re going to have a big party you know…
I look at France with my eyebrows raised in a question mark. France ignores me and looks into the cheese display.
ME: If memory serves you had a pretty good time at the 4th of July party.
FRANCE: WHAT?! I did not! It was average at best, huh! A good time, who do you think I am? Brazil?!
ME: All I’m saying is that you stayed pretty late and seemed to get along well with everyone.
FRANCE: Quoi? So? What? You are so tiring, why you must drag everything out?
ME: Maybe I like to watch your squirm?
France suppresses a laugh.
FRANCE: Sometimes you don’t make me want to gag, Américaine.
I smile and give France a pat on the back. France quickly shrugs me off and looks at me with disdain.
FRANCE: Everything is so difficult with this relationship. I have no idea what cheese to bring that will go with turkey!
ME: Oh, but won’t you be thankful to find out?!
France gives me the first real smile of the day.
FRANCE: Peut-être, Américaine…peut-être.