Thursday, August 12, 2010

When I was young and naive, I had a French lover. I also had a very beautiful wasp-waisted full-skirted winter coat that really suited me. Both the man and the coat were very attractive, and we all looked great walking along those cobblestoned streets together. I spent a lovely December in Paris, going to museums, eating delicious pastries and catching pneumonia. When it was clear to me that I needed to see a doctor, I asked my Frenchman to come with me, especially as I was not sure of the proper idiomatic French expression for "collapsed lung". To this my handsome Frenchman said: "Non, non, tu vas toute seule comme une grande." Which means: "No, no, you're going all by yourself like a grown-up." And with that he strode off, leaving me in the middle of the Place Vendome.

Since then the men in my life have been much more helpful than this retrograde Frenchman (who was promptly and deservedly abandoned). But nonetheless, I've found that wherever life takes me, (be it to the police station to identify my mugger in a line-up, my father's funeral, small claims court or oral surgery)I'm going there alone. And after you've done all that stuff by yourself (the French Health Care system is terrific, by the way, and totally free)it's really not a big deal to take yourself on vacation.

I am consistently shocked when I meet adult persons who would not even consider going to a movie alone. Are they really afraid they will be drugged and kidnapped while watching the film (and found 6 days later in the Wicklow Mountains, up a sycamore tree)? Or are their lives filled with so much togetherness that they never have the opportunity to go anywhere on their own? Such persons are completely mysterious to me.

I do miss that coat. I think of it wistfully sometimes.



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