something in me has changed
hey guys, happy saturday night. i hope you’re planning a night of fun whether it’s settling in at home or gearing up to paint the town pink.
it’s been close to a month since getting back from paris, and some of the subtleties of spending a chunk of time in the city have sunk in on the subatomic level. it seems like each time i go there’s a slight change for the better. i’m a teeny bit more polite, a lot slower paced and definitely less wasteful. to make sure the changes stick, i’m jotting down a couple notes for reference. living in nyc for so many years, it was the direct opposite experience so i’m consciously undoing years of deep conditioning.
1. some believe the french are rude and dislike americans, but i find the opposite is true. it’s amazing how truly kind the french can be, especially if you give their language the old college try. you can actually have light conversation with anyone by just mastering the daily pleasantries: allo, bonjour, bonne journée, bon soir, bonne soirée, comment–allez vous, ça va,, très bien, merci, et vous, ah, bon, ah, oui, merci, de rien, je vous en prie, pardon, a tout a l’heure, d’accord, bon appetit, salut, vous aussi, au revoir, à bientôt et ooh la la!
2. the development of infinite patience: it’s almost a meditation, especially for this hardened new yorker. it’s amazing how the french wait on line without huffing, the way they’ll spend time with a customer whether they buy or not, and the fact that they are generally just not pushy people. the second i got to the airport it was a completely different world where everyone had to be first and would sooner run you over with their luggage cart than let you merge ahead, and although it goes against my grain to be patient, it’s one of the traits i’m kind of enjoying practicing.
3. keep it down: i think we’re just pretty boisterous people as americans. we’re jovial, congenial, fun loving and down right loud about it. the french on the other hand are subtle, private, quiet and intimate. in public they speak in hushed voices and are respectful of other conversations. the other day i was on the phone before a plane took off and had no idea how loud i was talking till the lady next to me got annoyed. note to self. shut up!
4. don’t fester: the french are expert at sitting quietly and neatly in place. it’s another form of meditation to make a conscious effort to act like a french woman and that means not twirling my hair or messing with my nails.
5. to-go cups and plastic bags: the french are never seen with either of these. they’re both badges of dishonor showing a lack of concern for the environment and general bad taste.
6. less bling: other than jewelry, the french keep their clothing simple and sophisticated with solids or stripes, and not much in the way of embellishments on shirts and shoes, jean pockets or jackets. after all these years i’m finally starting to understand their look. it’s taken a long time to dissect such a simple style.
7. using what you’ve got: i’ve never seen anyone make better use of a tiny scrap of tissue, newspaper, bubble or old tape to wrap my flea market purchases. somehow there always seems to be be enough even when there is very little.
8. meticulousness: this is maybe what hit me most this time, the way that everything the french do is just-so. everything is handled with care. whether it’s the way they clean streets, sew seams or make conversation, it’s all done with an air of elegance. i think it’s in these little daily rituals where the ordinary can become extraordinary and the french have mastered the art of living.
well ok, that’s it for my observations tonight. i was just in the mood to relive a little bit of it before it wears off. they say when you write it’s more permanent so i’m hoping this will help seal the deal. have a wonderful weekend and i hope to stop by to see you tomorrow!