This is a transcript of my most recent conversation with France.
Me: Bonjour France!
France: Oui, bonjour. (France takes a sip of Pastis)
Me: Guess what?!
Me: My semester ends the first week of August; I’m so excited. I’m going to catch up on my workouts at the gym, read lots of books, work on my cooking; its going to be great!
France: Ah oui? Very…ambitious. (France looks suspicious when it says this)
Me: Yep, in fact, I think I’ll start by going to the gym right now!
France: No. I don’t think so.
Me: Whaaa? Why not? MB is out of town for 3 weeks. He’ll come back and I’ll be buff!
France: It is so hot. Do you really want to go?
Me: Yes, I don’t care that the gym isn’t air-conditioned (actually I do, but that is for another post).
France: Well, it is August; so I think that I will just close the gym. (France says this nonchalantly but won’t look me in the eye)
Me: You can’t do that! I live here; I have a year membership!
France: Pfff…not for the next 3 weeks, my little American friend. (France pulls out a cigarette and lights it)
Me: Fine, I will just hike in the mountains and take picnics.
France: I will make it rain.
(I give France a face)
France: C’est la vie. (France says this matter-of-factly)
Me: I don’t think you are using that phrase right, its meant to be a good thing, you know, ‘c’est la vie’!
France: It is my phrase, huh? I will use it as I want to use it. Pfff…
Me: Fine, I will sit inside with lots of good books from the library.
France: (France takes a drag of its cigarette and exhales leisurely) You think so?
Me: Yes, I will get lots of cheesy romance novels about English speaking foreigners coming to France and falling in love…they will all have happy endings!
France: (France rolls it’s eyes) You think the library will be open?
Me: YES. I know they have vacation hours; I have checked.
France: I hate to tell you, but I have closed the library too.
France: Très sérieux.
Me: So, I can’t go to the gym and I can’t go to the library…is the market open?
France: Sometimes, but I will not disclose all the hours and days ahead of time. I prefer for you to guess.
Me: (I sigh loudly) Well, maybe I will go to the sea!
France: HA! (France spits out a mouthful of Pastis) Enjoy all the tourists! Enjoy the backed up traffic from Paris to Cassis! Are you CRE – ZEE (read: crazy)?!
Me: So how am I supposed to fill up my month?
France: Just relax, enjoy your life.
Me: We’ve talked about this. Remember Sundays?
France: I know but you have to get over this need to be busy all the time. (France motions to the waiter to bring another Pastis)
Me: Okay, so what can I do?
France: Its August, my friend, you can sit with me and have a drink.