My Happy Summer in France


I love Paris in the springtime.

I love Paris in the springtime.

I love Paris in the Springtime. [crescendo con brio]

But Paris in the summer

Is nothing but a bummer. [doo-wah, repeat chorus, fade out] --Descartes, 1653


I. Paris in the Spring

Apparently, things are better in the spring. Perhaps it's because that's when Parisians go into heat: Jean-Claude, mon cheri, Je t'aime--et c'est avril!" The flowers are in bloom. No one cares about high prices or lobotomized policemen or anyone or anything else. All of the tourists are in love, too.

"Howard, that little garcon just stole our luggage."

"So what, Gladys? Here we are in Paris in the springtime."

"Oh, shhh tame, mon frairi!" (passionate embrace)

But people are tired of loving each other come June, and it isn't even warm in Paris during July. Each morning the picture-perfect Parisians leave their overpriced little flats, smiling away, in shirt-sleeves and halters; and when you crowd into a metro car with them you look at all the goose pimples, and you want to scream, "Bonjour, Paris! Vous etes froid!"

But you don't because your French stinks.

II. Paris in the Summer

Day 1

They do not remember that they have hired me when I arrive at 120 avenue Charles de Gaulle, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, site of the chic and glamourous International Herald Tribune. "We don't have any internship program"--not a welcome sentence when you are standing on foreign soil, thousands of miles from home, mute (for all practical purposes), and without friends or finances. The second worst sentence possible in this situation: "Oh, you're the typist."

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