Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We'll Always Have Paris. Oh, Wait...No We Won't

So, we love artwork. This is nothing new. We take perfectly lovely and sweet photographs of kittens and sunsets and Maude and jack 'em all up and make 'em say really profane and generally disrespectful stuff. So, when one of our MommyLand moms sends us a story about her most embarrassing moment AND included 27 separate e-mails worth of original artwork to got with it, ummm, HELLO! Of course we're going to run it. Mostly because we begged her to write it for us in the first place.  A very huge thank you to Kate in Michigan, who is also the dictator of the RFML SparkPeople Strength Team (where we first became acquainted with her incredible illustrating skills).  She is the Queen of the Ninja Pirate Hookers and we adore her.

Back in the DBK (Days Before Kids), my husband and I lived in Pittsburgh.

We loved it. We were young (late 20s), smart (he was getting his PhD and I had just gotten my Master’s), and with a small amount of discretionary cash which we spent unwisely and very well. One Friday afternoon in January, my husband called me at my temp job and asked if I wanted to go to PARIS the following weekend.


Well, turned out that there was an insanely good rate on airline tickets out of the ‘Burgh, but ONLY if you buy TODAY. 

“Ummm, even yesser!” I believe was my answer.

So we went. It was three days of walking, eating, going to museums, checking out the Eiffel Tower,

and eating some more. I felt so cosmopolitan. Such a World Traveler. We just up and went to Europe! For the weekend! How cool were we?

After shopping on the Champs Elysees (we bought him a leather coat - did you know there are INCREDIBLE sales in Paris in January? It’s true.) We were happy, tired, and a mite hungry. That’s where our story begins.

Oh, how wonderful. An out-of-the-way Café full of Parisians! Incroyable! We practiced our EXTREMELY limited French and got a table near the windows. The tables were adorably close together. Cigarette smoke everywhere.

We happily ordered coffee while we perused the menu.

 Oh, it felt so good to be able to order lunch -- IN FRENCH! Did you know that “hard boiled eggs” is “oeuf dur”? It totally is.

The ham was on the bottom, with some fancy schmancy mustard (pardon, “la moutarde”), interspersed with delectable tomato slices and some green leafy something. The halved oeufs were arrayed artfully on top, their little white bottoms nestled into what I can only assume was some mustard/Dijon/hollandaise sauce. I didn’t care what it was called. I wanted to dive in.

 Cradling this rather large sandwich in my hands, I debated the best approach. It was too tall to just munch easily, so I began nibbling on one end, all the time sitting up, coquettishly swinging my crossed leg back and forth, showing off my high-heeled boot.

Out of the corner of my heavily mascaraed eye, I saw something white fly through the air.

White and yellow, actually. My husband caught my eye. We both sat very still, smiles frozen on our faces.  

Him: “What was that?”
Me: "Maybe an egg?”

I peered at the far side of my sandwich. Whaddya know -- an oeuf was AWOL. Whoops. I snuck a glance under the table, expecting to find the egg where I could discreetly kick it out of sight.


 Maybe under my seat?

 This was not funny any more.

An egg cannot just disappear. NOT EVEN IN PARIS. I was starting to hyperventilate a bit. Then…

I looked at the woman at the table RIGHT next to us. She was so exquisite. So chic. So… wearing white. In January.

 Ummm, oh. no. it. didn't.

[Instant Replay]

I began frantically searching for...for what? Words!

She glanced down, wrinkled her flawlessly alabaster brow, and said in mellifluous French,

Oh God. What? Is she telling me she’s calling the cops on the Ugly American?

My husband, seeing that even the tiny shreds of my Frencherican had abandoned me, translated. “Honey, she’s saying that it’s not easy to eat those sandwiches.”

I was desperate. I was sweating and hideously embarrassed. I needed to get out. We flagged down the Garcon and paid the bill -- and probably tipped him about 427%. I couldn’t meet the Chic Woman’s eye as we left. However, I did hear a very French snort.

So, just a review:



Next time I visit gay Paree, I’m gonna change my name. And avoid oeufs. Dur.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. Oh. that. was. awesome!

  2. lol!! kateinmichigan is definitely one of my faves... she cracks me the hell up on a regular basis.

  3. Kate in Michigan, your mad computer skillz never cease to amaze me. The instant replay illustrations had me giggling! I can't believe the French woman in the white suit didn't kick you in the taco and storm out in a huff! Paris is a magical, magical place...

  4. Oh, if only that story were fiction.

    My entire self cringes as I relive that afternoon. **super-ninja-sized-cringe**

    Thank you, Kate and Lydia, for making my InternetFame dreams come truuuuueeeeeee.

    kate in Michigan

  5. Laughing that hard with grapefruit juice in the mouth is not a good idea. And next week, I'm going to Paris. Trust me, however limited your French skills are, they are 1000% better than mine. And now I know how to order my egg for breakfast! Thanks! Somehow, my Russian and limited Swahili (don't ask, I yell at my kids in Swahili because they actually! listen to it!) wont get me too far.

  6. NinjaKate is one of the most insane women I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have dirt and gravel permanently ground into my knees from worshiping her. Yes - she's that awesome!!! And now, I have a desire to learn French ;)

    - Yca, Headmistress of Deprivation

  7. Dear Kate.....L.M.A.O. from one Michigander to the other...girl you rock that story. LOVE LOVE LOVE the pics that go with it.
    lana in MI

  8. WOW!! All I can say is wow...

  9. Just found your blog- love it!
    I also felt rather uncool in Paris many years ago....except when you are a Canuck they expect you to speak fluent french (and most of us don't on the west coast)...so I'd get about 2 clumsy words out my mouth before they'd cut me off and speak to me in 'dripping with sarcasm english'.... because it was too painful to listen to me struggle ...

    And the only people wearing practical footwear in Paris are tourists...blending in just doesn't happen!
    Jen in Vancouver (CAD)

  10. hahahahahaha - whew! I am so glad I never partook in any eggs that weren't a crepe in Paris. Now I know for sure to avoid the pitfall. This is a highly educational and informative piece.

  11. Snorting with laughter alone in my living room. Love the ugly American picture!

  12. WWSJP DO!!!!!!!!!!!
    (What Would Sarah Jessica Parker Do)
    Sex and the City in final episode.

  13. I did the same thing when I was seven: egg salad flicked all over a woman's mink coat. My dad paid the bill and hustled me out before she realized what happened. Which is kinda crappy, but he was a 27 year old guy...

  14. Dang, that gave me a hearty laugh that shook my entire upper body. Illustrations were THE BEST!!!

  15. I'm a late comer to the site (story of my life) and love this account of life on the Champs. As an American living in Paris what NinjaKate experienced in one afternoon is every day of my life. Every. Single. Day.




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