Tuesday, March 29, 2005

With apologies to Annie...

We were spending a week in Paris--a hazy, magical week in June, before a series of concerts in Normandy. It was Annie’s turn to cook for the group, so after our visit to the Picasso Museum, I accompanied her to the supermarket. Laden with the beginnings of a promising vegan dinner, we got on the One and headed home. Content and lost in thought, we fell into our seats without a word.

Seated across from us was a young, well-dressed couple speaking quietly in English. After a moment, the man leaned cautiously towards us and asked us for the time in strained, but correct, French. At long last--a chance to live out my pretentious French fantasy and answer tourists’ queries in the local lingo!

“Il est six heures,” I graciously managed.
“Merci beaucoup.”

The One whooshed its way under the center of Paris. The Gatsbys across the way continued their hushed conversation. Then, I realized that they were talking about us. The woman was staring at Annie’s legs. Annie, who as a general rule, does not shave, was sporting a lovely blue frock that displayed her shapely calves and the fine, dark downy hair that covered them.

“Look Jim, it’s true! French women don’t shave their legs.”

At long last, decades of speculation had been supported by concrete proof. I squirmed with indecision. Denounce or refrain? Savor a secret triumph or inflict humiliation?

Annie chose the latter. The Gatsbys rose to get off at Concorde. “Have a great vacation,” she said in English, with a radiant smile.


Blogger liddyloo said...

beautifully done. even i would not be so stupid as to think people couldn't understand me, and anyway, the way you described her legs made not-shaving seem quite appealing.

5:21 AM, May 26, 2007  

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