Me: Hey France!!! France!!
I wave trying to get France’s attention.
France: Ah, bonjour. It is the Américaine.
Me: Yes, it is the Américaine. Why do you say that like you don’t know who I am?
France lights a cigarette and shrugs.
Me: So, Happy Fourth of July!!
France: Ah oui, your independence. Why do I care about this? This is not my holiday. Take your Américain enthusiasm somewhere else, huh? It fatigues me.
I put my arm around France’s shoulders and keep walking. France looks at my arm as though it were a poisonous snake.
France: Why are you touching me? I do not eenjoy thees.
Me: Well get over it buddy, I’ve allowed about a million strangers to kiss my face over the past 16 months and that hasn’t made me comfortable either.
France: Such brutes, you Américains. To kiss someone’s face is polite, gentile not like this horrible hugging business. Why do I want your fat body pressed up against me? (France shivers) Grotesque!
Me: What?! I’m not even fat.
France: Yes, but you are Américain so you might as well be fat. I can’t help it; I hear the accent and this is what I see.
Me: You don’t want to know what I see when I hear your accent…
I say this menacingly.
France: Pfff…this is what you will never understand, little Miss America, I don’t care what you see when you hear my accent.
Me: You’re impossible. I don’t know why I keep trying to talk to you.
France: Because I am fascinating.
Me: Irritating as well. I’m just trying to celebrate my Independence Day and you have to bring me down. I mean, you know that the French helped us significantly during the American Revolution. You supported us.
France gives me an eye roll.
France: Ouais. It was a long time ago, non?
Me: Yes, but you know even in WWI, we honored Lafayette who helped during the American Revolution. There was even a Lafayette Squadron.
France: Typical Américain, so overly sentimental. Wasn’t he declared a traitor later? I seem to remember that.
Me: UGH! YOU exhaust ME!
I start to walk off.
France: Très typique!
France says this loudly to stop me.
France: I am finally interested and you walk away.
This time I roll my eyes.
France: So, what are you going to do for this holiday? Talk too loudly and wear tennis shoes everywhere?
France casually lights a cigarette and sniggers.
Me: Haven’t decided yet, what are you going to do for Bastille Day? Feign boredom and wear scarfs in summer?
There is a momentary stand-off and then France nods.
France: Bien joué. You are learning.
Me: I think we will probably have a party for the fourth. You know, lots of food and decorations, patriotic music; I’ll probably wear red, white, and blue.
France: Ouais, sounds like you, everything has to be over-the-top and too much. Why do you need to decorate your houses all the time? I don’t understand this.
Me: Oh please, like you aren’t going to be running around screaming the Marseillaise and waving the Tricolore next week!
France: I most certainly will not!
France is indignant.
Me: Do I need to bring up photos from last year?
France turns bright red.
France: What? No! I don’t know what you are talking about…I am France, I don’t act like that. You are the reedeeculous ones.
I give France a smirk.
France: Fine. Maybe we decorate a little, certainly not like you tacky Americans.
France lights another cigarette.
France: So, I am invited to this fête?
Me: I didn’t think you would want to come.
France: I didn’t say I wanted to come! Mon dieu! Everything must be a challenge with you always. Pfff…
France looks everywhere but at me.
Me: Oh France, you know you are invited.
France: Well, I should think so.
Me: Wait, why?
France: Pff…always the same. You know we did help you to win, without us there would be no Etats-Unis, huh?
Me: But I already sai–
France interrupts me.
France: So yes, I will be there, I will bring some good cheese, something French that will actually taste nice, you know, for Lafayette and all that.