Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Naturally if anything strange, violent or extremely traffic producing is going to happen it is going to happen where I am and when I need to be somewhere. Such was the case today when some jackass killed a cop and then it turned out that his mom lived on my island and what looked like 800 police believed the fugitive had come to see his mother and was loose in my new neighborhood. So as I was trying to get to school there were 5 helicopters, 2 SWAT teams, every single cop car in the county and a bunch of curious Canadian tourists all clogging up A1A and making it nearly impossible for me to get to work. I was ready to go hunt down this idiot myself, and I fully believe that he deserves the death penalty for what his actions did to the traffic situation alone.

Several hours later I was at school with the ringer on my phone turned off, when suddenly the phone made a noise it has never made before. When I picked it up I saw that it was ringing but the number displayed looked far more like a credit card number than a phone number, so I answered it.


It was my father.

"I'm in France!!!" he exclaimed.

"I'm at school!!" I exclaimed.

Apparently my father "just felt like going to France" and so he did, leaving my mother behind in LA because she did not "just feel like going to France" because she hates France.

My father called me from a restaurant where he was having dinner with a friend of his I had never heard of, called Robichard, which is an odd name and looks like a combination of Richard and Robert and France. Interestingly my father did not mention what city he was in and I was so stunned at the strange call that I forgot to ask.

Robichard had taken my father to a place that had really good cheese and my father had a cheese that changed his life and because the cheese had caused him to have this faith-shaking religious experience, he had to immediately call me, from France, specifically to tell me about this cheese. He could not, however, understand or remember the name, and so he called the waiter over, handed the waiter the phone and then there I was IN CLASS talking to a waiter halfway around the entire world ,in French, about cheese. My father believes that because 15 years ago I got As in high school French that I am fluent in it, but this is sorely not the case. I can, at best speak like a two year old from Montreal who has one English parent. I am the French version of Tarzan, but since I was IN CLASS I had to look cool and because I am really concerned with French people's opinions of me I had to say something to the french waiter, didn't I?

"Bon Soir!" dite moi.


"Mon pere aime le fromage et il voudra connaisser le nom du fromage."

I guarantee you that none of that is grammatically correct and I bet not a word of it is spelled right either, except "mon." I know how to spell "mon."

"Epoisse!!" yelled the French waiter.

"Le fromage s'appelle Epoisse?" I asked.


The french waiter hung up on me. He seemed profoundly irritated and french people are capable of depths of irritation unknown to people in other parts of the world. I kid you not, that French people's irritability is so bad that it has caused an actual post-traumatic type of disorder in Japanese tourists who visit France. I swear to God I read a whole article about it. Look it up.

But see, I ordinarily side with the French and because of my genes francaise, I too experience the same irritability common to Parisian waiters, so I get it and I sympathize. I know this particular Mr. OUI!!! AU REVOIR!!!! was probably horrified to the very core of his soul that some lunatic American man with a buzz cut and bowling shoes, who I guarantee you had at least a bottle and a half of Burgundy in him by that point, handed him a cell phone in a restaurant, where on the other end, thousands of miles away in a South Florida university a young lady with no understanding of his beloved language was attempting to ask him, in her hideously American accent, the name of a cheese not even available in Les Etats Unis anyway.

The whole thing was really quite surreal and after the french waiter had hung up on me, I happened to turn and look up at the sky where a skywriter, a skywriter, was writing the word "TRUST" in huge trailing vapors across the blue.

It seemed like it should be some kind of a sign, but I have no idea what it could mean.


Bolstermummy said...

i'm a long-time lurker and a first-time poster but something about this story simply made my day forcing me to comment, so here i am :). you truly have a gift for dragging the reader inside the story you're telling and i thank you for sharing that with the rest of us.

oh and in case you're interested to know, i'm (perhaps?) your only reader from Finland :D

EvylFashionista said...

Your life is the epitome of my favourite quote - "Truth is stranger that fiction because fiction has to make sense."

I'm so glad to see your posts everyday. Your stories are always fascinating and can move me from laughter to tears all in the same post.

Somebody get this girl a book deal!!!

Miriam said...

That's crazy! But hey, at least now you know the name of that amazing cheese!

gulfsidebo said...

I love France. Great story!

Subservient No More said...

Finland!! That is so cool. I've always wanted to visit Scandinavia. I would love to see Helsinki. I like saying it.

Crabby said...

I have to admit I admire the French a great deal and love the food and culture etc, but I am scared shitless of them.

However, I like going to the French speaking parts of Canada where you get to hear the pretty language without dealing with nearly as much Irritated Superiority. (Plus, if you're a paranoid freak like I am, you can do it with airplanes, always a plus).

Another hilarious post--and I agree with the fashionista: get this gal a book deal ASAP.

magnumandjack said...

I decided to look at your blog after seeing the link on Violent Acres; I'm glad I did! This post was hilarious! I will definitely continue reading your updates.

Amanda said...

That's a great story. The poor waiter....

I got A's for four years in high school Spanish. I cannot say much more than "I'm hungry," "Where is...," and "I don't speak Spanish." Eh, but the teacher let us watch movies during class as long as there was someone speaking some Spanish somewhere during the film.

Maya said...

SNM,if you get a chance to go, do so - Finland is amazing and Helsinki is lots of fun. The food is great, too loads of their yummy fish and good vegetables. Try to go up to Tuurko and the Kali mountains if you can its gorgeous!

That being said, c'est cheese! (sorry bad pun)

Kate said...

From my travels in France, the one thing that took away it was that you do not irritate the waiters. It's already a culture of leisurely dining, but the waiter will take an *extra* long time if you are an irritating American.

It would be almost amusing if you weren't falling asleep over an empty croissant plate. :)

Great post, btw. Your writing style is wonderful!


Green said...

My dad got an e-mail at work yesterday telling them about the fugative. My very first thought was "SW is surely involved somehow" and you are! And his work is barely even in downtown Ft. L.

Morrigoon said...

Moikka to the lady from Suomi! (that's about all I can say without venturing beyond the printable word in Finnish)

J'ai vu (God I hope that's right) aussi un incident comme votre histoire. Mes amis et moi visitons a Paris, et dans un restaurant s'appelle Cafe de la Paix il y a aussi un serveur qui a hurlé à mon ami.

(Okay, I cheated... I had to use babelfish to find hurlé)

SW: keep the posts coming, you crack me up!

(Oh, and the secret to learning the rules to a language lie in memorizing whole sentences that contain unprintable phrases... funny how you remember those!)

Heather said...

I give you epoisses par internet:

super stinky smelly stuff, not something to munch on if you have "le romance" on the agenda for later, but very nice if you're boozing it up and eating crisp baguettes. I hear you can actually get the unpasteurized milk kind from Canada but you know that ain't good if you're pregnant. J'adore les francais aussi, parce qu'ils ressemblent l'attitude New York-aise

Pann said...

omg this is hilarious.

Kale Rae said...

Being a lurker/reader from Montreal - (with two english parents) I understood what you were trying to say...and realy the only French that should really concern you (as a tourist) is "ou est la toilette?"

Plume said...

Your french isn't so bad ;-)
And Epoisse is the most stinky of all stinky french cheeses (Corsica excepted...) :-p

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