Monday, August 11, 2003

Le Poisson-Chat Frite

Last night I dreamed of Paris. I dreamed of sipping une tasse de cafe at a patisserie, of strolling leisurely up and down the Champs-Elysee and also of visiting the little shop on Le Rue Du Rivoli where I purchased my first boite de Limoges. I can almost taste the sandwich du jambon et gateau truffe au chocolat.

I have been missing Paris lately. I think about my time there and am amazed at how free it was. I wonder however if I don’t miss both my naivete and my optimism for the “joie de vive” that the city represents just as much as the city itself.

This is where the romance ends and the bizarre begins. I dreamed I was suddenly granted a three-day trip to Paris via Air France and it had to be taken immediately. So, I did what anyone would do; I jumped at the chance. When I arrived at my hotel I was so exhausted I immediately went to sleep. When I awoke I decided to read for a bit. Then, when I finished reading I was hungry and went out to find a good restaurant. I finally settled on a lovely little Mexican establishment. I don’t remember the name of it but I remember the Mariachi band, in traditional dress, was strolling between tables and playing wonderful little songs. However, on their heads they wore berets instead of sombreros. They also served their Margaritas in glasses shaped as inverted Eiffel Towers. I suppose those were the only two concessions to France. After dinner I decided to go to the movies and after that I felt I needed another nap.

OK, this is crazy. Who, in their right mind, would spend half of their time in Paris reading, eating Mexican food and going to the movies? But wait, it gets even a bit stranger.

On my third day I decided to venture forth into the city of love and happened upon Six Flags over Paris. It was situated so that in order to cross over to the left-bank one had to pass through Six Flags and ride the coaster both named and fashioned after Le Arc De Triomphe. So I did. In the air I noticed a man running through the park and being chased by the police. Having had a birds-eye view I knew exactly where he was hiding. After disembarking I immediately sought him out. I grabbed the package with which he had absconded and made my own mad dash for the cops. The package turned out to be ground meat of some sort and he was actually an undercover cop but no one knew it. I was furious at being duped and thew the meat into the air where it immediately turned into money and everyone was scrambling for it. I, of course, got nothing.

I left Six Flags and made my way across the bridge. I was trying to go to Le Musee d’Orsay because I wanted to see Rodin’s Thinker. I was hungry and decided to stop, of all places, at a restaurant called Le Restaurant du Poisson-Chat Frite. Translated this means Fried Catfish Restaurant. So, I went in, sat down at a little table with a red and white vinyl checked tablecloth. I was immediately given sweet tea, cornbread and green-tomato relish. Again, the servers were dressed traditionally southern, i.e. big hair, shorts, t-shirts and tennis shoes, but were all wearing berets. I supped on salt-and-pepper fried catfish, pinto beans, sliced onions, and coleslaw.

During dinner my husband and mom called me on my cell phone. I was amazed that my reception through AT&T wireless could reach that far considering I have three dead zones all along I-77 in Charlotte. Even the called ID read Mom and Hubby at home. She asked that I bring back some real French chocolate, semi-sweet of course. So, after dinner I began the search for the best chocolate in all of Paris. I went from store to store and patisserie to patisserie sampling the wares. Finally on a sugar high I bought a pound of chocolate and was on my merry way. However, I had to go back through Six Flags to get to my hotel and once I entered I couldn’t find my way out. I saw a sign reading Sorti (exit) and I would take that direction but the scenery would change and there would not actually be an exit there. I wandered aimlessly around for hours and no one could help me. I could see the outside, Paris, from beyond the gates but could not get out of the park. I knew I was going to miss my plane and therefore be stuck and I didn’t know what to do. I had lost my cell phone along the way and oddly enough all the phones in the park were dead. Dejected, I sat down on a bench and then I woke up.

So, what started out as a lovely jaunt to the city of love turned out to be rather a nightmare of surreal proportions.

All this and absolutely no chemical help whatsoever. I’m wondering what I will dream of when I’m all doped up after my surgery.


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