et vous pensiez que tous les croissants seraient delicieuse. hoh hoh hoh.

Cher Fannie,

What foresight and wisdom – I have already begun a small and pious silver candlestick collection and am in the process of officially changing my name to 24601-b. While there is no noticeable hunchback protruding out of my upper back (it’s more around the hip area), I have gotten a blue beret sort of stuck on my head to the point that I think it might be permanent.  And while I’ve never had a cigarette, of course, I went to the Parisian hall of records and found Sims among the names of the bourgeois, so now, as a matter of ancestral respect, I refuse to talk about anything besides the liberal arts, the blandness of American politics, the blandness of America, and expensive food. As, er, usual.

Over the holidays and in an entirely uncharacteristic moment of accusation, my brother John coined such pompous ramblings my “architectural wizardry” asa way of saying that no matter how bedazzled and eloquent my wand, his inner core of phoenix feather would always produce the better spell. The more correct spell, the more rational spell, the ever-winner of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Alas.

Accordingly, I would like to discuss today a specific medical condition described to us by one of our teachers for a class called Architecture, Preservation and Planning (subtitle: Reality Check). It’s called “Paris Syndrome” and it affects SEVERAL HUNDRED Japanese tourists every year. The idea is that some people (an especially those previously unfamiliar with Western culture) come to Paris (the number one city for tourism in toute la monde) with a premeditated vision of its glories (everything as lovely as the chamber of Marie Antoinette; smoke-filled cafes filled with famous dead poets; a city of pastels and exquisite natural lighting; no lines at the Eiffel Tower and an uncanny willingness for all the French people to gladly speak your language, whatever it may be (and it should be English), in their shops and homes… A Paris which is untainted, charming, delicious, lovely, revolutionary and artistic: My Current Life precisely).

Needless to say, too grand a vision precipitates an inevitable breakdown, which for victims of Paris Syndrome means that upon arrival in the actual city of lights, these tourists are let down to the point of having a psychiatric* collapse: disappointment in its most extreme case. Victims of Paris Syndrome are known to experience hallucinations, feelings of persecution and anxiety, hostility to others and a delusional state of being a victim of prejudice. Its one and only cure is to return home and never come back. Feel like holding up a peace sign anymore?

Parts of Paris are all things adorable, and parts of Paris are, well, realistic. I live on a street much like upper Broadway in New York – out my window just now I can see a Kodak store and 3 cell phone kiosks at the street level of an ornate Parisian building with an authentic cheese shop across the street. I think perhaps that the only way to really love a city is because of, as opposed to in spite of, these dichotomies. In Paris as in any other city, the grit and gut of reality is sort of in your face; people live here, people of every socio-economic level and every nationality. A café conversation can segue naturally from bemoaning the woes of post-modern architecture into one about the best place to get a plate of chicken wings and watch the Colts-Jets game at a reasonable hour (Answer: a bar called The Moosehead, tonight at 9 pm – Fact: my life comes full circle in Paris). Except in Paris, you’ll be passed by actual locals on actual bicycles carrying actual freshly baked baguettes and walk by eight historic churches on your way to that bar.

So the question is, dear Reader, dear Fannie, do I move to the middle-of-nowhere in Wyoming where life is always bucolic and untainted and estranged, continue to pose as a glamorous/artistic expat in a European city, move back to New York for an Americana-IV, OR: do I return to the homeland of Knoxville from whence football coaches flee because the sun permanently shines 24 hours a day from a giant phallic tower downtown? Must I choose one? Oh, the agony of indecision. Time will tell.

Also, I booked a flight to Berlin for this coming weekend with some friends and successfully redirected, in French, a nice Parisian girl who asked me directions to a McDonalds, in French, to a specific location I devised where there is not actually a McDonalds, for the sake of practice. NBD.

“All of us finders will clap our hands.” – Page France


*Note: when speaking French words that start with a “ps,” you get to pronounce the p like you’re telling a secret – psssss!! That would be puh-sai-kee-at-ric, as in kuh-nox-vil


~ by soleilsphere on January 24, 2010.

3 Responses to “et vous pensiez que tous les croissants seraient delicieuse. hoh hoh hoh.”

  1. First, let me announce that I have successfully downloaded and installed a language translator onto my computer and will no longer be left “in the dark” by your French snippets. Case in point: your posts today are titled “and you thought all the croissants are delicious. hoh hoh hoh.” For some reason, hoh hoh hoh was not translated. Must be universal. Or perhaps you erred in spelling with your phoenix feather! Yikes!! Does spell check not work on French?


    Love you!

  2. Dear Mom,

    I am really going to Berlin this weekend. I want to be in Germany for the Superbowl because, well, who wouldn’t?

    I love you.


  3. Oh. I hadn’t even considered how much fun it would be to watch the Superbowl with French subtitles! How could I have missed that?

    Stay out of sports bars!

    Love you too

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