Author: Beatriz

A Miami girl in Paris. Ay mira "ooh lala!"

Part IV: Rumors and False Alarms

After spending the entire Saturday indoors, we decided to venture outside on Sunday. It had been hard reading all of the comments, opinions, and theories on social media, watching people ride the coat-tails of Paris in order to promote their cause. I won’t get into how angry it made me feel in this particular post.

I did my hair and make-up, threw on some heels, and arm-in-arm, Anaël and I went out.
Stepping outside felt great! It was a beautiful autumn day: not too cold and sunny. Perfect biking weather!
It was a little bizarre, however, because streets were still quite silent when they should have been chaotic. I was very aware of how vulnerable it was to be outside, but onwards and forwards!

We got on our Vélibs and rode out in the direction of Vincennes, under the belly of Paris by Porte de Charenton, until the 13th arrondissement, and then entered on the quais of the Seine. We passed by Notre-Dame. It was closed, with policemen everywhere. A slap in the face and a reminder of what had happened. We pedaled past it. I tried to ignore it as a lump in my throat started forming.

Getting to Saint-Michel (which, in retrospective wasn’t the best idea ever) was almost a relief- it was packed with people walking the narrow streets. Businesses were open: little souvenir shops, restaurants, bars…
We set up camp in a terrace (because fuck you, terrorists, that’s why), ordered some pints and tried to have a normal afternoon. It was the most rebellious act we could think of for the moment.
A few moments later we were joined by a friend and the afternoon slipped into a lazy Sunday evening.
Someone was playing jazz in a corner nearby, the music wafting everywhere. People were pouring out into the streets, their pints and cigarettes in hand, conversations of all types floated around. A big sign where the outside menu of the bar used to be now said “WE ARE NOT AFRAID”.

Right as we had let our guard down, a lady on her cellphone approached us.
“Be careful!”, she said, urgently, “Something happened at BHV”.
BHV? BHV is a few blocks away, on the other side of the river.
A split second passed in which we all made eye contact and we just split.
We ran further into the heart of the neighborhood, when we realized people were casually sipping on coffees and glasses of wine. We entered another bar (you know, like how in Shrek 2 the people of Far Far Away Land run from one Starbucks to the other), sat down and began to watch the news: a stampede in République had broken out, but in the end, it was nothing.
Was this to be our life now? To be perpetually paranoid?
It’s only because it’s still fresh, I told myself. It’ll be ok. Tomorrow we will go back to work and life will go on. 

Part III: Silence

Porte de Montreuil, or, Montreuil rather, is known for hosting a flea market every weekend.
It’s not your hipster flea market where you find antiques and little gems. It’s more like a place where you go get fleas. The stalls are all crammed up against each other in a sort of organized chaos, tattered clothes and shoes lay in piles for people to scavenge through, men catcall and sell “Marlboros pas cher”…
Anyway, weekends are never relaxing in my neighborhood. There are always big crowds coming to and from the market, the metro is packed with people carrying boxes or large bags. Even indoors, you can clearly hear the rhythmic sound of the hooves from the horses of mounted police patrolling the streets, or the children during their soccer matches across the building in the sports complex.

The morning of Saturday, November 14th, I opened my eyes to utter silence.

When I say that it was time to begin to grieve, I do not mean it in a dramatic way. It’s an essential part of the process. The deafening silence outside my window reminded us of what had happened just a few hours before, the sun shone for a little while, as if mocking us; the soccer field was empty, there was no market, no sound of hooves, no people.

What happened? How could they do this? How are people so twisted, so perverse, so evil, so sordid, so demented? Could this have been prevented? Is it the government trying to start something? Is this part of some crazy conspiracy to sell arms? Why would they target their own citizens? When is it going to happen again? How are we preparing for the next attack? Did they get those guys?

Should we go out and show our defiance? Should I stay home just in case? I’m sure people are out! We debated the question time and time, but hesitation kept us indoors. A report of an “explosion” (which later turned out to be just firecrackers) in a town next to ours made it clear it was the right decision.

At some point, though, we were going to have to go outside. But how to gather the courage?

Friday the 13th, Part II: As I Lived It

The alerts started pouring in: Explosion at French Stadium turned into “Explosions at Stade de France”, “Shootout in 10th Arrondissement”, and they didn’t get any better. Suddenly, the information of what was happening painted a perfectly clear image: they were coming down Boulevard Voltaire.
Suddenly, I wasn’t tired. The texts and messages started coming in and out: please be safe, are you ok?, don’t leave your house, is your mom/sister/family/friend ok?, yes, I’m ok, have you heard from X?
There was a moment of real panic where my partner could not reach his mother. He called and called and called. His mother has a very active social life, and enjoys going to restaurants and cafés. Where was she that night?
Eventually, he was able to contact her. She was fine. We stared at each other. What the hell was going on!?

I started thinking about work. I can see Stade de France from my office. The only thing that separates me from it is a street. I walk in front of it every morning and every evening, I go to the McDonald’s next to it, I know people who work there (one of them is expecting a baby soon). How could they do this? What could possibly drive someone to this?

Oberkampf, I was supposed to have been there. I was supposed to have been on Boulevard Voltaire having a drink at a terrace. Most likely nothing would have happened to us, but what if it did? What is the difference between the people who were gunned down and me? Nothing. There are absolutely no differences. That entire area is not for people with money, au contraire, it caters to middle class people, with sensible prices and no-frills decorations. It’s such a lively place at night, with people spilling into the sidewalks having pints, a glass of wine, munching on chips, smoking cigarettes, having heated discussions, making out in the corner…

The apartment turned into a sort of bunker: the shutters were drawn, the door was locked with all locks available.
Porte de Montreuil is not next to Voltaire, but it does have a large immigrant population which sadly has not assimilated (I blame the government for this, but that’s another subject). Suddenly, Porte de Montreuil did not feel so safe. My neighbors could be targeted by angry people, all pigeon-holed in the mentality that “they are all the same”.

Another thing you need to know about Porte de Montreuil is that it is quite close to Vincennes, where there is a large army base. It is not uncommon to run into fully-armed soldiers on the métro coming back from a day of training on the other side of the city. Even they use public transportation!
But that night, all those curious memories of men in uniform riding with regular citizens evaporated. Helicopters were flying overhead. They were taking off. A manhunt was underway, hostages were being held, people wre being butchered while I stared at my computer screen in disbelief.

News poured in without stopping. I didn’t know how to feel: sad, angry, scared- I was fine, nothing had happened to me, but I chose Paris! I chose this city! Even with all its chaos and madness, this is the place I want to live! My life is here, my partner is here, my work is here, my heart is here.
Feeling weary, I finally gave in to sleep at around 4am. The hostage situation was over, the death count began, and like a small child, I sought the arms of my partner for protection.

Saturday would definitely be a day of recovery.

Friday the 13th, Part I: A Regular Day

Let me start with possibly the most cliché of expressions: it was just like any other day.

I got up, made myself some coffee, got on the tramway and went to work.
It was going to be a good day, filled with people I like. I taught lessons on “breaking the ice”- we did vocabulary, explained why I kept saying “fat penguin”, talked about conversation starters, giving compliments, and role-played scenarios.
I then went to my office, in La Plaine-Stade de France, where I taught two more classes, and then went on my merry way, along with a friend, to the RER B. We said good-bye at Gare du Nord, and I took line 5 to Oberkampf, where I always change lines to go home. It’s a really quick commute, in terms of time. Plus I like that area: République, Oberkampf, Filles du calvaire- they have some really great happy hours!

Before going home, I had to run an errand near Bastille. I exited at the big July Column, and made my way up Faubourg-Saint-Antoine. It’s a lively street with little bars, kebab places, bakeries that make your mouth water, and shops (Hema!). After the errand, I was exhausted:
“Is it ok if we move date night to tomorrow?”, I asked my partner. “I’m super tired”.
“D’accord”, he said.

I didn’t feel like taking the métro, so I decided to continue walking, almost until Nation, where I took the bus, and ate some chocolate I had bought earlier.
Nation is nice at night: there are two gigantic pillars on Avenue du thrône, there are many bars: Le canon, le Voltaire, God Save the Kitchen… everything is illuminated. It’s not my ultimate favorite, but it’s nice, and it’s super close to the apartment!

At around 8:30pm, I received a call from my boyfriend. He was out of karate and really wanted to go out. I repeated I was tired. He wasn’t so happy this time around. I felt guilty and almost threw on my coat: “Ok, let’s go out, then. Let’s go to Oberkampf or something”.

I was dozing on the couch, the discussion of the cancelled outing had ended, when I received the first text at around 10pm. It was my cousin, Annabella, from Houston: “I heard about the shooting in Paris. What happened? Are you OK?”
Huh?
I closed the message, without replying, and found AP alerts: “Explosions at French Stadium”.
That’s crazy, I thought, I was just there today…

On Ordering Pizza

A few centuries ago, when I began this blog, I touched up on a subject that intrigued many people: the pitfalls one must navigate when attempting to order pizza and, even worse, having that pizza be delivered to your doorstep.
I think it’s time to share that story, which has now many other sequels, all more hilarious (see: pull-your-hair-out frustrating) than the other.

Let’s go back to the Fall of 2012. Young, fresh, bright-eyed Beatriz had people over her 15m2 château (let’s call it Château Lopez, for old times’ sake). It was a lazy, rainy weekend afternoon when hunger stroke past lunch time.
“Man, you know what I haven’t had since we left the States?”, someone said. “Pizza!”
There was a murmur of agreement and mouths began to salivate thinking about that delicious smell of warm pizza wafting from that cardboard box. A vessel of joy in times of academic uncertainty.
“Let me go online and order it!”, I said, unaware of the horrors that would befall me.
There *was* an online system. But my street did not qualify for the area Pizza Hut…nor for the Domino’s Pizza. No Papa John’s on this side of the Pond. Weird, right? Let’s remember Château Lopez was in the thick of Rue de Rennes, a huge thoroughfare, very popular for its shops.

But we were not to be discouraged- oh no! We were young and wild and free and we were finna get that pizza.
I looked for the number, and to my horror, there was only some hotline that cost 10 cents per minute. But we’re all American passport holders, and we liberated this country once, so what were 10 cents to this beacon of freedom?
After ten minutes of being on hold, I decided the beacon of hope was to be shut off.
We found more numbers (at this point, we might as well have gone downtown and gotten pizza, but, freedom).
“No, we do not deliver to your street”, call after call.
What?
Defeated, we gave up. Pizza was not to be had.

No, no. Drivers No Work Tonight. 
Fast forward to 2014. Pizza craving struck again. I decided Pre-Historic pizza ordering services had to have changed. I tempted fate and tried ordering some pizza on the internet.
(If anyone cares to know, I preferred the online method because that way, I don’t have to deal with the straight up shitty customer service everywhere, plus I don’t know the word for “thick crust”).
Anyway, so I was about done- I had selected my order, and all I had to do now was give my address. Of course, it wasn’t just as as simple as that: I had to fill in the number, and then select my street from a pull-down menu.
My street was not on the list.
Puzzled, I looked for the neighborhood pizzeria numbers (shitty customer service it is!) and had the S.O. call, since he’s French and knows how to say “thick crust”.
Called the first one- nope. Two kilometers was too far for their driver. Called the second one: Nope. They had received so many orders that day that they decided their drivers were tired, even though closing time was 2 hours away. Called the third one: our street did not show up in their system and did not know how to get there. Eventually, after some cajoling, we had pizza!
Now all we had to explain was how to get to the apartment. That means we have to give the access code to the building, explain which door to take, what floor to go, and which door to knock on. A good minute or two are spent at this.
About an hour later, however, I should not have been so stunned that we received a phone call: “Yeah, hi, this is the delivery guy. What’s your access code and how do I get to the apartment?”.

No, You Shut Up!
If there is something I don’t do, it’s learning lessons. It’s like that cycle where you have to go through the same experience over and over again until you learn and you achieve enlightenment and spontaneously combust.
But I’d much prefer to watch the delivery dude combust.
Here’s what happened: In a moment of weakness, we decided pizza was what we wanted for dinner. We decided to call the people who so kindly sent someone to the Elephant Graveyard where we seem to live and placed our order: 2 pizzas and a bottle of Coke.
Again, address, code, door, blah, blah, blah…
One hour later: “Hello, hi, this is the delivery guy. Where is….?”
“We gave the information to the place”
“Well, they don’t communicate that to us”.
Ah.
Eventually, a lanky youth was standing in our doorstep, with…one pizza. No Coke.
Mon gars…

After explaining to him that we had ordered two, the kid sprung down the stairs screaming “IT’LL ONLY BE A MINUTE!” *THUD THUD THUD THUD*
Again, S.O. knows more than to order “thick crust” and so he called the pizzeria (*cough*dominosonavron*cough*) to inform them about the mishap. The man on the other end couldn’t care less and said “ok yeah”. Then he asked to please let their people know that, no matter how enthusiastic they are about pizza deliveries (ok, those might by my words), they should not scream in residential buildings at 11pm.
Little did we know this comment would lead to chaos just a few seconds later when the delivery boy knocked on our door.
A funny chain of events all began at around the same moment. Delivery Boy arrives, S.O. thanks him and advices him to “try to be a little bit more silent next time- the neighbors will get angry at us”, Delivery Boy’s phone goes off, echoing like hell, he picks it up and does that thing where people scream on the phone. After hanging up, he was ready for murder: “You don’t know what talking loud is- I can speak real loud!”. He was, of course, not whispering at this point.
Delivery Boy gets uppity, on my doorstep, and I’m real glad tipping is not a thing in this country.
You try enjoying pizza after that.

Two weeks later S.O. received a text message: “Following the incident on x day, enjoy a 50% discount on your next offer”.
The offer was, of course, nearly expired by the time we received it.

Useful French expressions Ep. 1 “La gueule”

Girl you look good on that #shamelessselfie of yours, but why you look so busted up in them tagged pictures?
That, my friends, is the spirit of today’s useful expression, or, “La gueule” (/ɡœl/).

La gueule is everything having to do with, well, your face: from a funny expression deliberately made for the camera, to the inevitable BRF (Bitch Resting Face) on your commute to work on el expressway.

But where does the term stem from?
Well, the “gueule” is simply the french word for snout.

gueule

El hocico, la trompa, (or la cara de burro amarra’o, if you will).

So, when do we use it?
There are infinite ways in which one can use la gueule, as it is a very handy word for nearly all situations. Just to get your feet wet, here are three everyday scenarios where you can begin to fit this magical word into your vocabulary:

Your co-worker gave you shade during this morning’s meeting?
No, they made you la gueule.
(That’s right, it’s something that is made, not given!)

“OMG, look at my gueule! Delete that picture!”

“Shut your mouth!” in French? Easy:
TA GUEULE!”
(Notice the slight shift from la to ta. Observe this at all times, as it is important!).

So now you are ready to go into the world, having acquired another useful morceau for your limitless vocabulary!

Can you think of any other scenarios where we might use gueule?

The hairflip

Parisian girls are renowned for having this effortless, timeless style, which depending on where you are, it’s kind of true. But there is one thing that is universal- playing with hair. Oh, yeah.

To start off with my “So you wanna be Parisian?” series, I believe the hairflip is the most important aspect to begin with. Not all French girls know about cheese, but they do have hair (allô quoi).

In the States Miami, people pat their extensions, flick the ends of the hair, and, if you’re lucky, you can even see us mamis running a hand over the length of our tresses to show contempt.

Thank you, New York, you’re a dear.

In this part of the world, however, they have their own signature move.

Now, this one does not discriminate social class, status, nor background. It is, like all things french, based on the concept of égalité. You will find it at universities, cafés, the métro, the line to get welfare assistance.

So, enough of my rambling! How do we do it?
Why, it’s quite simple, but it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to your attitude that will fool people into thinking you’re Parisian! Ok, or not.

Step 1:  Tilt your head to one side.

Possessed look is totally in for Fall 2014.

Possessed look is totally in for Fall 2014

Step 2: (a) Take your hand from that same tilt side, without any shame, and (b) bring it to the back of your neck of the opposite side (through the front, lest you look like a mess).

(a)

(a)

Easy-peacy

(b) Easy-peacy

Step 3: Grab your hair like the wild, wild animal you are and bring it all to the opposite side. Be unapologetic, be messy.

Photo on 9-4-14 at 6.03 PM #3

AAAND FLIP!

Let your tussled locks stray into their new position- the most sought-after style is, of course, the I-just-read-a-whole-tome-of-foundations-of-humanism-omg-im-très-smart.

Photo on 9-4-14 at 6.05 PM #2

FOUNDATIONS OF HUMANISM

Congratulations, you can flip hair with panache and joie de vivre.

If you like to live on the edge, I recommend The Advanced Hairflip: The Cigarette Multitasker.
Repeat Steps 1-3 holding a cigarette on the dominant hand. Because hair grows back, but you only live once.

Now, go and show off your Parisian hair flipping skills to the world!
(And tell me what quirks you’ve noticed in your town!)

 

“A Round Hairbrush” or “Why France Will Never Advance”

All I wanted was a round hairbrush.

All I wanted was to lock the door behind me, walk my happy self to my nearest Carrefour, and shove money in their faces in exchange for a nice, round, overpriced hairbrush.

But it’s Sunday, and as we all know, Sunday is the day of rest.

I have no problem with this, except the French will take on any excuse to not work, and I’m not exaggerating.
For example, France prides itself as a secular nation. On Friday, however, it was a national holiday because it was the Day of the Ascension. Furthermore, Monday is a “banking Monday”, so I will not be finalizing the last details for my bank account because, hey! Banks are closed.

Today, the damn supermarket is closed.

A round hairbrush.

Readjusting to Parisian life has been a little hard in some aspects. I am very happy to drink good coffee, walk down narrow alleys with charming façades, have picnics on the banks of the Seine. But when it comes to everyday things, some stuff is just really annoying, like having to argue every single little thing, or having people scoff when you ask them to do something they are supposed to do anyway (I’m talking to you “information” guy at CDG International who rolled your eyes up at me when I said bonjour).

When I went to one of the big, scary Tribunaux last week, to get some attestation for whatever weird paper the government loves to ask for. The office reminded me of some Harry Potter scene: there were two ladies, drowning in piles and piles of papers and files. They had just started doing an online service, but of course, the system is faulty and full of bugs and the turnaround time is about 30 years, give or take. The lady kept on complaining to the people in line that the internet was ruining things- that no demands should be made online…and because it’s France, no one cares. It’s this collective “IDGAF” from both sides that, at a micro level, is not letting France have a more logical and seamless system. Administration here is, most of the time, inefficient and retrograde. The old school refuses to embrace change, impeding and blocking new, less complicated approaches. The descaro is never hidden: they are proud of screwing others over, it seems. They are too afraid of not getting to scoff or argue with clients.

Anyway, when my turn came, Lady #2 behind the counter was at a loss because she could not find the name of the city I was born in (Caracas). After repeatedly pointing it out on the translated Birth Certificate (that cost me 249 euros) she ended up putting “Santiago de León”.

I mean, technically it’s right- Santiago de León is the name of the hospital.

Santiago de León and a round hairbrush.

The cherry on top, though, came the day I went to open a bank account and I ended up in an office with two French people arguing in front of me in very heated tones. Sandwiched between the two, I wanted to melt in my seat from the awkwardness. 
Bank of America may steal my money from time to time, but they don’t call me names… at least not to my face.
I walked out with neither a bank account nor the hope of one, because…welp! It’s France!

Frustrated from my experience at the bank, I decided I wanted breakfast and stopped at a little Bistro to get me some good coffee and bread. It was empty, and the second my ass touched the chair, the nice lady behind the counter told me I could not sit there.
I looked at her, bewildered- there wasn’t a single person there, but I could not sit where I wanted.

A round hairbrush on a Sunday.

Bachelorette Parties, Baby Showers, and Fruit Salads

No, no! This little one is not getting married anytime soon- though suitors do abound, if I may be so bold. It’s just that I realized I never spoke (wrote?) about something that struck me as particularly interesting about French culture.

I am under the strong impression- due to personal experience, narratives, and my countless nights out on South Beach- that here in the United States a bachelorette party is all about getting trashy, getting that awkward lap dance, and adorning one’s body with phallic paraphenalia (or… it just so happens that’s all I have seen). I mean, it even feels like a Bachelorette Party is just an excuse to “cheat one last time”.

In France the “enterrement de jeune fille”, which if we want to transliterate means “the burial of the young girl”, is slightly different. From what I got to see, the bride-to-be is dressed in the most ridiculous of tenures (not that sporting a penis necklace around your neck is not ridiculous enough). I’m talking “Tacky Day” on drugs—spandex, brightly-colored afro wig, etc.
She is paraded around the city and given a series of dares. Sometimes they even blindfold the girl and take her to an undisclosed location, kind of like that last episode of SVU….except, of course, this is fun.

Anyway, I think I have pretty much failed at not being biased on which one I find less degrading.

 

Then there’s this cultural thing that made me cock my head to the side and scowl:
Baby showers.
Now, it is no secret I don’t particularly care for children. I am very selective of the children I like- either the kid is genuinely witty (yes, WITTY), his or her parents are people I like, or the kid has to be related to me. Other than that, my dormant maternal instinct will remain as such, and I will be the awkward person not cooing and saying how cute the baby is.

Sorry not sorry.

Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, on to the story!

One day I was invited to a baby shower in Paris. It was, as a matter of fact, for a very well-loved couple from our exchange group. It was all kept hush-hush, as it was a surprise. In the email exchanges, I volunteered to make a fruit salad, because I’m boss at making fruit salad!
So I went to the market and selected the most delicious-looking fruit. I was going to show how much I liked these two people through fruit. Mmhmm.

As life would have it, the night before the baby shower, I went out and I, uh, got classy trashy.
I stumbled back into my apartment and plopped on my bed, boots and all, when I remembered: the fruit salad!
I got up slowly, because that’s what you do when you’ve had one too many, and made my way to the kitchen. I wielded my ceramic chef knife around and cut up the fruit. Oh yeah…they were going to love my fruit salad. Mm mm! Fruit!

Anyway, the baby shower was a success. We made merry and showered the mom-to-be with presents for Incoming Baby. It was the closest thing to a family Sunday afternoon that I had had in a few months, so I felt pretty happy to partake in an activity I would most likely avoid like the plague back home.

A few days later, while exchanging drinking stories, I decided to tell the story of my drunken fruit cubing skills with my sweet blade.
“What was it for, anyway?” asked my French friend.
I was stumped. How do you say baby shower in French!? Bébé douche?
“Um…in English is called a ‘Baby Shower’”, I replied.
She stared at me. Her French eyes filling with French judgement.
To make the story short: why on God’s great Earth would we celebrate and gift a baby that is not born yet? What if the baby dies before it is born? (this was an actual question). We were decidedly the craziest and most obtuse society for partaking insuch activities.
An uncomfortable silence ensued, my friend looked down and laughed at herself.

I sat in silence, feeling sillier than a jeune fille.

The Cat at Chez Bebert

Or Le chat chez Chez Bebert

IMG_3563

A stray animal at a restaurant in the US is…let me backtrack.
You never see a stray animal in the US.
Keeping a pet inside a restaurant? Nope. I mean, unless you want your permits and stuff revoked- then it’s cool (why did you open a restaurant in the first place?).
Abroad, though, things are a little…different.

You can, um, “be one with nature” during a culinary experience.
I once ate a grec outside of Notre Dame, sitting on the floor, as rats skittered by in the moonlight.
Rats.
As big as my thigh.
I think it was the fact I had never really seen one in person before that prevented me from going through any shock.
One…two…ooh, there’s a big one!
As long as these things would not come near my food, it was cool.

These are little daily treats of Parisian life. It’s a city- you deal with all sorts of things! This is not clean, Winnie-the-Pooh-land gated communities. There is grit in the streets and there are germs in your hands, so don’t rub your eyes.

Furthermore, some respectable dining establishments are not free from animals. Oh, no.
There was a restaurant down the street from my Château that had some bomb-ass couscous, and payday had just rolled around. My friends and I decided it was the perfect time to go get some delicious grub.

We settled in, placed our order, and a few minutes later, out came our heaping plates of couscous, steamed vegetables, and meats. Mouths watering, we dug in like those two kids in Jurassic Park (Except more savagely, of course. We were starving grad students. Those two were just bitches hiding from some whatever dinosaur. We were against T-hesisaurus Rex. Pshh.)

Littlebitch

Anyway, in the middle of the smorgasbord, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. This was significant, since I was really into that lamb.
Something was staring at me, intently. I peeled my eyes off my plate and onto the edge of the seat- a cat.
I took another bite.
WAIT! What the effffff? A cat!?
I looked at it again. It did that licking thing cats do, and it sunk in that this creature was going to quite possibly pounce and take away all my delicious couscous, and vegetables, and lamb!
Nooo!
I pointed it out to my friends. There were two types of reaction: amusement, and utter disgust.

Had I not previously seen stray cats inside a supermarket as a child growing up in Venezuela, this would have probably made me panic. But it was cool- as long as this little feline did not play games with my food.

Scoffing and gagging (or was he just gagging?), one of my friends had to stop eating. Why the hell was there a cat in this restaurant?

I flagged down the waiter.

“Sir, there is a cat”, I said.

“Yes. Yes, there is”, he replied. AND HE PET THE CAT.

It sunk in: as all things cats…THIS CAT OWNED THE RESTAURANT.

I sat there, confused but beginning to get one of those really good chuckles.

At this point my gagging friend was in sheer agony, clenching his fists at the ceiling and imploring “Where am I? What am I?”

Next to me, my other friend was starting to get friendly with the cat. I warmed up to the idea, until it jumped up on our table and panic set in. I don’t know how it happened, or who did it, but less than a fraction of a second later, that cat was on my lap, purring (I guess it’s a cat thing) and I just sat there, like a fool with a fork.

Our waiter came around again, on his way to another table. He cooed at the cat while my friens and I smiled like (american) lunatics.

This cat was here to show is he was boss. He had an agenda.
He burrowed and stretched and tossed and did cat things until my friend and I made a place for him, between us. And then he napped.
He disn’t say bye, though.
Catshole.

And this is my Paris cat story.
I lost the pictures and I hate myself a little bit for it right now. But I do hope you enjoyed it.
I’m going to go pet my dog now.