Free-Range Breasts

“Dang!”  I am standing in front of a full length mirror, examining myself in a new dress that I just bought.  “It is totally see-through,” I shout towards the other room.  “I think this might be a swimsuit cover up, come tell me how bad it is!”

After a minute or so MB ambles into the room nonchalantly.  “Quoi,” he looks me up and down, clearly seeing nothing wrong with the sheer black and white maxi dress.

I go spread eagle and ask again.

“I can see the outline of your legs but that is okay, non?”  He is looking at me quizzically.

“Yeah, I’m more worried about boob,” I spread the ruched fabric flat across my chest.  “See?  You can see them.”

MB laughs, “Only when you do that.  It is fine.”

I look back in the mirror, staring intently at my bosom.  Is it fine?  Is it?  The Southern girl in me says, “Absolutely not, white trash, put a bra on!”  While the French girl in me says “pfff…it is a breast, this is natural, non?”

My entire life I was raised that nice girls don’t leave the house without a bra on.  Seriously, it wouldn’t have even been a consideration, you wouldn’t wake up and ask yourself, “is this a bra kind of day” because EVERY day is a bra kind of day.  It doesn’t even matter if you are a card carrying member of the I.B.T.C* – I.B.T.C. girls need bras too.  In the U.S. (in general) we like those suckers to stay strapped down (or up, as it were), harnessed really.   I mean, come on you wouldn’t want a wild breast to get on the loose and stir up trouble in town, now would you?

The attitude in France is somewhat different; in France, bras are optional, heck, even swimsuit tops are optional; in France they believe in free-range breasts.  In fact, just this year they completed a study that says bras aren’t good for breasts anyway (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/bra-bombshell-brassieres-breasts-saggier-article-1.1313974).

It is a normal thing to see breasts out and about.  The other day I noticed a woman with a paper-thin white t-shirt on and no bra walking through town.  I could clearly see “everything” and watched amazed as she walked through town with her shopping bags, totally unconcerned by the fact that she was flashing the “goods”.  It was one of those classic expat moments in France in which I look around thinking “is anyone else seeing this?!?!?!?”  But no, no one else seemed to notice anything at all…because here it is totally ordinary.  There are bare breasts on advertisements on the street, in TV shows, at every swimming situation – it just isn’t a big deal.

When I first arrived in France it really threw me off.  Going to get a chest x-ray for my visa and having a woman man-handle my bare breasts to get them into the right position on the machine felt a bit odd and later at my first female exam, having the doctor laugh about “silly Americans” and their gowns during medical exams.  Now, I am kind of used to it.  I mean, I’m not about to burn my bras or go topless at the beach (let’s be honest, that is really just a horrific sunburn waiting to happen) but it is kind of nice to know that I have the option of doing so without freaking people out.

I mean…it is natural – we all know they are there, shouldn’t we be able to handle it by now?

I look at myself one more time in the mirror and realize you really can’t see anything.  Then I walk over to my dresser and get out a strapless bra…I’ll get there eventually.

*I.B.T.C. – a torturous junior-high age taunt – Itty Bitty Titty Committee

The TV3 Interview…

Okay, so I am being a slacker this week and instead of writing a post I am just going to post the link to the TV3 Interview that featured BreadisPain last November.  Please enjoy my television awkwardness and inability to pronounce “par” correctly (seriously, every time I hear it I cringe).

Now, that being said this was a really fun and cool experience to have and I hope it will give you a laugh!

I’ll be back next week with a legit post…but until then, enjoy the long weekend darlings!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P3JDgJwzXQ&noredirect=1

Anxiety on the Death Star

The airport these days can be a scary and intense place…almost anxiety-attack-inducing.

Is all metal off my body?  There is an underwire in my bra…I really hope they don’t try to take my bra, I mean, that’s just going to be uncomfortable.  Would I have to go back to my gate and check-in my bra?  Can an underwire be used as a weapon?  I doubt it but then they have also confiscated my nail scissors before…

Are all my liquids in the regulation size plastic bag?  What about my eye cream?  Is eye cream a liquid or a solid…what…oh my god, I have no idea.  Is eye cream a liquid or a solid, people?!  LIQUID OR SOLID?

Which line am I going to be in?  Is that the normal one or the scan your naked body one?  Wait, no, don’t wave me over there, I don’t want the naked body scan, it’s so awkward.  I act like I’m cool with it to the TSA people but guess what?  I’m NOT – it creeps me out.  Sh*t – I’m definitely in the naked line.

Alright, smiling at everyone, trying to hurry to get all my stuff in those bins as quickly as possible…don’t want to be that guy.  Wait, what?  I can’t put my coat in the same bin as my laptop…uh…okay TSA…I didn’t know that coats were impenetrable by X-ray machines.  Unzipping my boots, trying to not have my butt hang out the back of my pants while I bend over to do this, geez, there really is no graceful way to pull this off.  Okay – ready to go…oh my god…this is the worst…there is a hole in my sock.  I can’t BELIEVE I didn’t check my socks…I mean; this is the one time in your life when your socks get a lot of play-time, come on!

These are the thoughts that are generally running through my mind as I hurry to wipe away the water that has dribbled all over my face while I was chugging my water bottle that I forgot was in my purse. Thoughts that are the result of years of U.S.A. Homeland Security combined with years of New Zealand and Australia customs (see what happens if you try to enter New Zealand with a bit of mud on your boot…I dare ya)*.  So, on my recent trip to Munich you can imagine my nerve level trying to pack for JUST carry on.  I measured all my liquids and checked and re-checked the Lufthansa rules (while constantly considering how to properly pronounce “Lufthansa”).  The most difficult aspect was that I knew I wanted to bring my friends that I was visiting some treats from France.

“I don’t think I can take these carry-on,” I hold up the camembert and paté to MB that I had purchased to bring them.

“Quoi?”  He looks at me and blinks.  “Why not?”

“Well, on the website it says I can’t take food products more than 100ml.”  But for some reason I need a second opinion on that vague and ambiguous regulation.

“Ouaaaaais…but it’s not like it’s a bottle of wine, uh?  I’m sure it will be fine.”

“I don’t think the rules work that way,” I say to him.

He shrugs and I can almost hear his inner dialogue, “rules? Pffff….”

Now before I go any further perhaps I should explain that I am an obsessive rule follower…even jay-walking makes me itchy.  I would like to say that it is all because of my strict moral code but let’s face it – it is mostly my abhorrence to getting in trouble.  I HATE being called out for having done something wrong and I’m such a nervous rule-breaker that I ALWAYS get called out…always.  MB, on the other hand, is French.

The French seem to enjoy seeing what they can “get away with”.  I don’t even think that they are trying to “challenge” authority but rather that they all believe that authority doesn’t really apply to them (for further information read this previous post: https://breadispain.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/duck-a-lorange-in-an-ashtray/).  So, I decide to try it out and see what I can get away with – into the bag goes the camembert and paté.

As I stand in the waiting line I watch in horror as the security video plays the directions and restrictions for getting through security – there on the screen are, no joke, a jar of paté and a wheel of camembert with big X’s on them.  At this point, my palms start to sweat, maybe I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.  I’m not a rule-breaker; I’m a dork!

My nerves are on high alert as I go through security, knowing that there is something contraband in my bag.  I waltz through the X-ray and wander out to the other side to wait for my bag.  Everything seems to be fine until suddenly I see the uniformed woman walking towards me with her hand on my bag.  I hear this in my head:

(“The Imperial March” for those of you too lazy to click on the link…and if you don’t know what “The Imperial March” is, I can’t help you, you are lost forever).    I can just imagine myself walking over to her, “please Lord Airport Official!”  Then, I begin choking as she says, “you have failed me for the last time, Admiral.”  …Or something like that.

Anyway…off the Death Star and back in France she pulls me over and motions for me to unzip my bag.  As soon as I do she pulls out my zip lock bag of camembert and paté with an “AH HA” – Sherlock Holmes-y kind of move.  At this point, I realize I have a decision to make: I can come clean and just go on my way or I can try to be a cool French person and try to get away with it.  I decide to channel my inner-Frenchness.

I shrug at her and try not to smile (a French person wouldn’t).

“Ouais…” I say, before continuing in French.  “I wasn’t sure about these but, you know.”

She looks at me with narrowed-eyes and I’m not sure if a) she believes that I really didn’t know or b) respects the fact that I am bold-faced lying.  Either way, she continues.

“It is the size,” she says, “They have to be less than 100ml for the carry-on.  Do you want to go back and register them?”

I shrug.  “Pfff…non, they are just gifts.  It is a pity for my friends but not for me so, you know, who cares?” I laugh wickedly at this.

I see her apprise me once again, “the force is strong with this one.”  She then laughs at my joke** before leaning in conspiratorially.

“You know,” she says speaking in a low voice.  “If this was duck, no problem…it’s just the pork.  You will know for next time, uh?”

I smile at her and start to put my bag back together.  Ah well, so I wasn’t able to keep my contraband…MB probably would have managed it but that is okay; I am what I am…a rule-following nerd.  Breaking the rules is uncomfortable on me.  And who knows?  Maybe France is becoming more stringent about these things, I mean; it is the airport after all.  If there is anywhere that regulations are followed it is here, right?

I zip up my bag and turn to walk towards my gate but not before noticing the Airport Official with my bag of food.  I see her turn to put it in the “discard” bin and then stop suddenly.  An inner war seems to be waging in her mind.  She looks down at the bag containing my unopened jar of paté and full wheel of camembert and then she sets it next to the bin as opposed to inside of it.  I laugh to myself, we are still in France – all is not lost.  Contraband paté and fromage will be served on the Death Star tonight.

*For the record, Australia took not one but two packages of grits on two separate occasions away from me because they were suspect.  It’s ground corn…that is all!

** The French have a little bit of a “mean girl” complex.  They like mean humor and jokes – it amuses them.  I will perhaps write on this topic soon.  If you need further explanation rent: Le Dîner de Cons.  That is the French film that “Dinner for Schmucks” destroyed.

Chatty Chats

Found: French dog*.

I am sitting on the metro, ready for my thirty minute ride on the way home from French class (ugh).  I always sit in the same seat on the second level with no neighbors**; I like to zone out on the tram and frankly I just don’t like being smushed up next questionable strangers, there, I said it.  About fifteen minutes into my ride an elderly gentleman sits down at the one-seater across from me.

He is all smiles and I can feel his eyes boring into me.  Keep looking out the window!  Don’t make eye contact!  I have the same feeling I have when I have just sat on the airplane with a book and I see an overly happy person walking towards the empty seat next to me.  My Southerness (https://breadispain.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/have-a-bless-ed-day-and-others-things-dogs-say/) won’t allow me to ignore a potential conversation so I must concentrate hard on something else if I’m going to avoid talking.

The tram starts up again and I continue to ponder the window pane in fascination.  Then I slip and look at the time on my IPod.

He jumps, nay leaps, at the opportunity and immediately tells me my IPod looks like a wrist watch because of the case I have it in (that’s right, I still use my arm band workout case even when I’m not working out – what if I get the sudden urge to workout, one must always be prepared).  I smile nicely and laugh “tehehehehehehe”, yes, yes we are all polite, now I am going to go back to staring out the window because there are a lot of tram stops left and while I would normally embrace stranger conversations, I have just left four hours of French class and my head is swimming; there is no way I can sustain a chat in French right now.

A minute or so passes.

“Vous etes etranger?”  He is smiling at me expectantly.

Le sigh.  I surrender and take off my IPod completely.

“Oui, je suis Americaine,” I smile back encouraging him (damn you upbringing!).

“Ah!  Americaine!  Tres bien!”

He continues on, chatting amicably.  I tell him that I am learning French but am not very good, he tells me (in English) that he knows some English but is not very good.  We chat a bit about French class and the difficulties of learning other languages.  Finally he stands up to get off at his stop.

“Eet eez verwy nice to mit yew,” He says patting my hand as he descends.

“Enchante,” I say.  “Bonne journee, monsieur!”

“Arrivaderchi,” he laughs.  “Italian!”  He is so pleased with himself.

“Ciao,” I respond playing along.

He laughs again, “ciao ciao!”

Then he is gone, as the tram pulls out I get a last glimpse of him merrily running across the tram tracks to cross the street.  Spritely old fellow.

As my tram ride continues it occurs to me that I have just met a French dog.  I think back over the past month or so and realize that lately I have been meeting a lot of French dogs.  What has caused this change?  Has France read my blog and decide to be chattier?  Somehow I doubt it.  Instead, I think that it is because, due to my French class, I am now on the same schedule as the old-timers and old-timers don’t have the social hang ups of young people; if they want to chat, they are going to chat.  Maybe they aren’t dogs, but rather they are chatty “chats”!  (I slay me)

It reminds me of when I used to work reception at a government office and people would call to complain about various things; often after the complaint was made the old-timers would just want to talk and have a conversation.  Getting older can’t be easy; the world that you knew for most of your life is gone, society changes, rules change, people you know pass out of your life.  So whether you are a Cat or a Dog, don’t shut down when you run into a smiling elderly person on the tram or at the grocery store, give them a chat, a moment of your time; if you are lucky, someone will return the favor to you one day.

* Point of reference: https://breadispain.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/the-truth-about-cats-and-dogs/

**That’s right; I’m that guy, the person who has my favorite tram seat.  Maybe when I am an old-timer instead of being nice and friendly I will freak out and rap my cane against the arm rest if someone else sits in it. 

Freaking Out Frenchie

So the other night MB and I were sitting watching an episode of French Masterchef.  The contestants were in the middle of a challenge in which they had to create a thin hollow ball made of out sugar (not exactly like the BBQ challenges of US Masterchef).  In one part of the challenge it was necessary to roll out and work the hot sugar “dough” which is at a dangerously high temperature, they have to wear special gloves.  One contestant is working his dough and talking about how hot it is and how you must be very careful.  The contestant next to him then accidentally sticks her naked elbow into the dough and lets out a scream.

His response…without so much as an eyebrow flutter:  “Mais…voila.”  As the girl next to him clutches her burned flesh he shrugs and returns to his work.

It is hard to fluster a French person.

The French are not big reactors when unusual things occur but instead just take them as though they were the most normal thing in the world.  When walking home in last weekend’s bizarre snow storm we saw a man in a car that was stuck.  MB went to go and help him and within moments the next few people who walked by did the same.  There were no introductions or laughs or camaraderie…no one ever said “woah, what happened?”  They just calmly set down their grocery bags and walked over and did it before continuing on their way.

“Quoi?”

In the US it would have been a conversation, hands would have been shaken, huge thanks would have been given and later that night the guys who helped would have told their families.  It wouldn’t have been a big deal or anything but a mini-event, something interesting and noteworthy in an otherwise standard day.

The uber blasé-ness of the French is something that I have noticed for a while now and that I get no small amount of amusement from.  I mean, I love it when something bizarre happens on the street and no one reacts.  Am I the only one seeing this?  And not to give to many plugs to Masterchef but it provides another excellent example.  In the US or Australia version, when people find out that they have made it past auditions there is great excitement and enthusiasm – sometimes awkward and rambunctious hugs.  In the French version there will be a nice dignified smile and a “thank-you”, luke-warm excitement at best.  Wait?  Where is the lady who falls to her knees and praises Jesus?  NOT in France.

Recently, however, I have discovered the Achilles’ heel of the French blasé.

In French class last week, our professor was asking us questions about daily routine and life.  The question came up of what do you have for breakfast.  Two of the students answered that they didn’t have breakfast.  Instead of shrugging (“ouais”) and continuing on with the lesson, he stopped…horrified.

“Wait, you understand what I asked, yes?  What is it that you eat for your breakfast today?”

“I didn’t have breakfast today.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I never have breakfast.”

“Never?!?!?”

“No, don’t like it.”

“But…I…what?”

This conversation went on for about 15 minutes while the teacher continued to flip out about lack of breakfast eating.

Later that week, MB and I started discussing how different life will be if we ever decide to have children.  We were talking about an upcoming dinner party and considering how different entertaining would be with children in the house (different, terrifying…however you want to describe it).  I mentioned that instead of a long aperitif before dinner we would need to try to have the dinner more quickly and then have drinks afterwards so the kids could go off to play, sleep, what have you.

ME: Yeah, I mean, god, do you remember being like 4 or 5 years old and stuck at your parents parties?  Horror!

MB: Yes, but I mean you don’t need to get rid of aperitif.

ME:  Well, I don’t mean get rid of it but just you know…like a half hour instead of an hour or hour and half and then just hang for drinks after.  It would just be easier for little ones’ attention spans.

MB: You can’t just change your life for your child!

ME:  Um…dude, a child is going to change your life.

MB:  But you have to set some boundaries, no?

ME: Of course, but I’m talking about shortening aperitif not getting them ten puppies.

MB: I don’t think it would be necessary; the kids would be fine for an hour beforehand.

ME: SERIOUSLY?  Do you really not remember being a kid stuck with boring adult conversations, and oh my god, an HOUR?  Think about how long an hour is when you are 5…it is FOREVER!  (I can feel a panic attack washing over me as post-traumatic stress from childhood comes back)

MB:  But they need to learn.

ME:  Remember that they wouldn’t be having drinks during that hour.  It’s not even fair.

This gives him pause.

The conversation continued for about 10 minutes with increased vigor until we realized that we were talking about a completely made up situation involving non-existent children (yes, it took us 15 minutes to realize it was a pointless disagreement to be having).  But I was struck afterwards about how vehemently MB protected his aperitif…even against all reason and practicality.  He was…flustered.

“You may take my life but you will never take my aperitif!”

Just like my French professor he was irrationally unnerved by the idea of food/beverage/dining protocol being disrupted.  Park sideways on the middle of a sidewalk?  No one will bat an eyelash.  But dare to upset the “naturel” state of drinking and eating and you will definitely freak out a Frenchie.

Bise! Boo!

In honor of Halloween next week I thought I should write about the scariest thing in France…

Sometimes I actually know what is going on when I am in France…I mean, okay so it is probably not the majority of the time but I’m getting there; now when I nod at something someone says there is like a 50% chance that I know what they meant (45%…WHATEVER).  Point being, I am making progress.  There is one area, however, in which zero progress has been made.  I am basically just as lost as I was the first day I got here.  It is wily and ever-changing, a chameleon in the world of social niceties…

*cue thunderclap and lightening*

A tradition so scary…so intimidating…

*teeth chattering in fear*

…that even the creators themselves can’t seem to get a handle on their Frankenstein, it is…

THE BISE!

*SCREAM*

MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Alright…maybe that is a little dramatic but seriously, what is the deal?  Even some French are confused by what to do!

Exhibit A:  http://combiendebises.free.fr/

Exhibit B:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9m0OEpE0z8

Now, I know I’ve written about this before but last time I was writing about getting over the hump of allowing a stranger into my highly coveted personal space so that they can apply their lips to my face (I have accepted it fully, I swear); but this time I want to talk about the actual rules…or lack thereof.  As you can see in Exhibit B, the side you start on varies, the number of kisses varies, and the time in which you give them varies, as does the person you are giving them to vary.  Now the French have grown up with this tradition and seem to move on instinct…subtly noticing the direction a head is going to go before it has gone there but I have no such luck.  I do things like catch half of a person’s mouth and accidentally force them into a half-way make out because I thought their head was going in the other direction.  I mean, how does any normal touching –phobic Anglo recover from this?

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to just lick your mouth.”

Furthermore, I can’t seem to get a handle on the number of kisses that are going to be doled out to me.  I have often had the same person sometimes do two and then sometimes do three.  So, just when I think I’m down with the three and go in for another round, they stop at two and I feel like a jackass.  Why, French people, WHY?!  Don’t you know that I already feel super awkward about kissing strangers?! And don’t even get me started on entering large parties or what to do with children who don’t want to get near you…the confusion abounds.

So, while other people dress as ghosts and goblins this Halloween, I think I will dress as the scariest thing I know…the bise!

“Have a Bless-ed Day” and Others Things Dogs Say

“I’m sorry Momma, but I gotta stop and smell everything; I’m a beagle!”

Whaa…what is happening?  Where is that voice coming from?

It is my first day back in Memphis, Tennessee and I am at the park walking my parents’ dog, Gudie*, who is stopping every two inches to smell something new.

“That’s what they do, you know,” continues the voice.

I turn to see a large (one might say redneck-ish) man standing next to me with jeans shorts, no shirt (and an impressive belly overhang), sporting field glasses **.

“It’s just the beagle way, they gotta smell it all.  I’ve got a beagle/pincher mix, m’self.  How old is this one?  She’s still pretty little.”

Um…why is this weird dude talking to me?  For a moment I forget that I am not in France anymore, then the haze lifts and I remember with a refreshing breath that I am back in the Southern United States.  Why wouldn’t a complete stranger start a conversation with me?

“You know,” I begin, “we aren’t sure her origins, she’s just a little foundling but sweet as can be!”

As if on cue Gudie rolls onto her back in front of the stranger.  He laughs and leans down to rub her belly…clearly Gudie is a much more trained up Southerner than me.

“Well, she’s a gudd’un (good one),” he says giving her a rub behind her ears.

“Yes sir, we sure think so!”  Sir?  What the hell?  Where did that come from?  And what is that insane accent you are using?  Have I always talked like that?!  Why does it feel so good coming out of my mouth?!

“Alrighty, well I best git goin’!  Y’all have a bless-ed day!”

“You too!”  I wave as he wanders off down the path.

Have a bless-ed day…wow, I haven’t heard that in ages.  I love that. 

I pause a moment before breaking into a smile with a small chuckle.

“Y’all”.  He included the dog. 

The rest of my day was charmed.  The overweight country boy (sounds nicer than redneck) that wanted to check out my dog had reminded me of one of the most pleasurable things about being in the Southern United States, a little thing that I like to call “aggressive friendliness”.  We WILL make you be friends with us and you will like it (in the South we are the most Doggie of all dog-like Americans: https://breadispain.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/the-truth-about-cats-and-dogs/ ).

This situation would never have happened in France.  The French do not approach strangers with random pieces of information, nor do they provide personal details unless necessary.  The French are a more conservative and reserved people.  Sometimes this is construed as snobbish and I suppose that sometimes it is but mainly I think it is just a difference in social norms; it’s not that they don’t want to talk to you but they would feel super weird doing it (amirite? This is what I have decided to tell myself…ego, whatever).  Usually, when I speak to a stranger in France, the response is honest shock, like I just pinched them, rather than aloof distaste (unless you are in Paris and then your odds are somewhat worse).  So, I keep persevering, my Southern-ness or doggie-ness will have it no other way; I must keep fighting the good fight.  FRIENDS 4 EVA!  In fact, even though I lose some of my Southern intensity when I am in France, there is still enough to get the job done.

Just before my trip back home to Tennessee, MB and I were in Paris for four days.  After a meal one night, we moved to sit at the bar and have our digestifs.  Upon completion, MB excuses himself and goes to the restroom, leaving me sitting at a bar by myself, somewhat “in my cups” (doesn’t that sound nicer than “half-drunk”) after having just consumed a glass of what is, let’s face it Frenchies, gussied up moonshine.

So there I am, bored, swimming in cups, wondering what is taking MB so long.  I smile at the person sitting next to me and get no response, I then try again with the person sitting opposite me.  WHAT?!  There is no shame in this game!  But still…nothing.  *SIGH*

Suddenly, the bartender makes a strategic error.

“Madame?”  He walks over to me (we’ll discuss the “madame” issue later…I mean, is it too soon for botox?  No?).  “You both would like another drink?”

*This was all in French.*

“Oh yes,” I say, all doggie-charm and smiles.  “Thank you so much, MB will have a digestif but just wine for me.  More than one digestif is just too much!”

“Yes,” responds the bartender.  “I am the same.”

Muhahaha!  Conversation intiated, suckah. 

“Right?”  I am fully in the zone now.  “I don’t know how my fiancé does it.”

Then the bartender says something unintelligible for me.

“So sorry,” I say.  “I didn’t get that!  The Parisian accent is very quick for me!”

“Yes,” a girl from down the bar says with a thick Russian accent. “It is very rapid in Paris.  I have the seme (same) problem when I first came here.”

Oh, the game is so afoot.  Multi-person conversation achieved in Paris by myself.  I should win an award, nominations?  Anyone?

“Oh, where are you from,” I ask her.

…And it went from there.  Two hours later, MB and I finally left the restaurant after having been locked inside having drinks and cigarettes with the staff and their friends.  Later that night, MB told me that he was thrilled when he was in the bathroom and could hear me talking.

“Why?”

“Because, I knew you wouldn’t be able to help yourself and when I came out we would have new friends!”

And why not?  What is the worst possible thing that can happen?  Someone chooses to ignore you or make you feel stupid?  Pfff…it’s not high school, people; you won’t see them in homeroom tomorrow, who cares?  Being friendly makes the world a little smaller and a little more cheerful…and, dare I say it, a little more doggie-ish.  Embrace your inner dog or your inner Southern-ness because it is a great thing to be pleasant to everyone, to be happy easily, to be excited simply.

It reminds me of my last night in Memphis before coming back to France.  My Father and I had taken Gudie in the backyard to play.  We watched as she ran around with enthusiasm, stopping every once in a while to roll at our feet before continuing on her way.

“I love dogs,” I say to my Dad.  “They are just so happy all the time; it is fun to be around them!”

“I know,” he says watching her.  “Just imagine being able to get such joy from doing something so simple.”

Yes,” I think.  “Just imagine that.”

Y’all have a bless-ed day now.

*When “Rover” won’t do.  Gudie is short for Gudrun…as in Norse mythology.  She is so named because she was found wandering the streets in fairly poor condition and as she had clearly survived a harrowing journey it was decided she needed a strong name. Perhaps the only 25lb beagle mix in the world named for a Viking.  Welcome to my family.

**This is what I mean when I refer to field glasses: http://www.ebay.com/itm/UNISEX-SUNGLASSES-DRIVING-SHOOTING-HUNTING-YELLOW-LENS-/300546365177.  I am not referring to binoculars.