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I just found this goodbye letter I wrote at a Paris cafe last March
Categories: Humour, Me, travel

I sit here at a cafe in my last month of Paris after having lived here for more than six months. I should have loved it but I did not. There is a charm to it but thanks to my constant anxiety slash panic it has been too hard. Strange considering that I have a boyfriend here now. One would think that I would stay or at least stay a bit longer. But I can’t do it. I’m sitting in a small busy cafe where I sat for the first time around 10 years ago. When Reyna moved to Paris, I visited her. Yes it was in 2002, remembering now because I had just finished cycling from Amsterdam to Paris in the rain as part of the AIDS vaccine ride which later turned out to be a huge scam. Reyna lived on Rue Des Archives, just a few blocks from here now at this cafe by Republiqué.

I am not famous.

I have always, well I wouldn’t say disliked Paris, but I have always sort of not felt comfortable here and have pretty much always felt like leaving Paris every time I’ve arrived here.

The first time I came to Paris was in 1996 with my mother. It was a great experience going to museums with my mother. We even went to a performance at the Bastille Opera house of icapatulet y montechi, although because we got budget seats, we weren’t able to sit together. I have been to many operas in my life, but today. This was still the best performance I have ever seen… by far.

We stayed in a “double” room which, typically French, was about the size of a shoe. Mom snored and I’m sure I did too.

We went to a drag show where the queens called me “cheri.” I enjoyed that.

One day, my mother and I went to some sort of cafe/lunchroom/music hall where Edith Piaf used to play… or drink… or something. I ordered the sausage because I up to that point, had usually enjoyed sausage. When the sausage arrived, on a plate, I smelled a horrible stench. It smelled like shit only worse. It smelled like boiled shit… on a plate. I thought the sausage was rotten. I took the tiniest bite of the sausage and I almost barfed. I have a steel stomach. I hadn’t barfed since I was drunk on tang screwdrivers at a Purdue football game ten years prior. But this thing made me want to puke.

My mother asked me the dreaded question, “Do you want to send it back?” I hate to send things back. It’s one of those things Jewish mothers always do to embarrass their kids and this food returning generally skips a generation as kids rebel against their parents. But I had no choice. I agreed to return the “dish.” My mother did so, in French. She speaks French. I didn’t. I still don’t, by the way, even after now after living here for six months.

Instead of the waiter just giving us a replacement dish and a passive aggressive scowl as one would expect in an American restaurant, he sent the chef over to us. He was a large man in a chefs outfit with stains and a big chefs hat. He was as much a french cliché as the little girl in the movie “War Horse” which hopefully you haven’t seen. A whole move about a fucking horse, but he horse doesn’t shit once in the movie. Not a single horse turd in the entire film! Ridiculous!

So the chef comes over and sits down next to me. Pulls my plate with the rotten sausage turd still on it over to him. Takes MY fork, and takes a big bite of it. He tells my mother very LOUDLY (and in French of course) that this sausage is perfectly fine and delicious. He finished eating it at our table and indignantly walked away. I think I got a ham and cheese sandwich after he finished eating.

Even though I only took that one tiny bite of this disgusting sausage which I eventually learned was called andoulette, the taste, to this day has never left my mouth. For me Paris is not the enchanting place to “just be” as so many American filmmakers and Woody Allen would have us believe. For me, Paris is just a sausage that tastes like shit. I’m going home to Chicago in two weeks.

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2 Comments to “I just found this goodbye letter I wrote at a Paris cafe last March”

  1. Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous. Oui! Oui! Ce sa! Blah blah blah! A marvelous memory and story. Glad you’re back in the Americas. Mostly.

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