Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jardin des Plantes

This is where I went on Friday afternoon to console myself after a rather irritating morning. I had been up to Porte de Pantin (on the very outskirts of the city in the 19th) to attend a needlecraft fair. I was supposed to meet three lovely ladies from the knitting group at the American church. None of them were there, but there was one rather annoying lady from the group. She and I waited for half an hour, after which time she insisted we go ahead. So we did. But while waiting, I had this conversation with a lady passing by (mind you, the conversation was in French.)
Lady: What's this fair all about?
Me: I beg your pardon?
Lady: What's the subject of this fair?
Me: Oh, it's a needlecraft fair. You know, textiles and stuff. For sewing, knitting.
Lady: Oh it's for needlecraft! So you have to know how to sew?
Me: Well, yes. Or knit, or crochet.
Lady: Ah. You're not French? You don't speak French?
Me: Yes, I speak French. I'm not French, but I speak French.
Lady: Oh. Very little French.
Me (glaring): No, actually, I speak a lot of French. I've studied it a long time.Here's the next insulting conversation of the day:
Me: I think I'm going to sit down and rest for a couple minutes. I'm a bit tired.
Annoying knitting group lady: Oh you're tired! (Pointing at my stomach) You're expecting a baby?
Me: No, I'm not expecting! Just tired.The needlecraft fair was completely packed, and the reality is that Parisians are not the most fun people to be in crowded places with. They like to shove, push, and cut in line. Anyone who lives in Paris will back me up on this. The line-cutting is the worst. There is even a word for people who compulsively cut in line (risqueurs) which is about half the population here. So the enjoyment of looking at yarn and fabric was totally canceled out by the annoyance of being jammed in a column of slowly moving people, unable to stop or start at will or get anywhere close to anything you might want to see or touch. After about an hour and a half I lost the annoying lady (it was bound to happen) and got the heck out of there.I grabbed a sandwich and drink from a boulangerie in the 5th and followed the packs of kids apparently out on school field trips to the Jardin des Plantes, where I sat in the sun and ate my lunch...

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