Frehel Diaries: Going to Meet a French Lover and Other Unrealized Works by Franz Kafka
“I had no liking for the safe path without pitfalls...” St Augustine’s Confessions
Suddenly and without warning the day of departure was upon me and I was measuring my time in the US in hours and then in minutes. While I finally packed everything I could imagine I needed, there was still the problem of what to wear on the plane. Normally I would wear something easy and comfortable for a seven hour plane ride, but traveling to meet a French lover I have to balance out comfortable enough for a 7 hour plane ride with still sexy enough to inspire a man to rip it off with his teeth.
Luckily, I studied costume design in college. I selected a black scoop neck tunic top, a black lace bra, jeans, black satin panties with a rhinestone cat on the front.
As my mother once said to me, "You know
how to travel." And it's a good thing that I do because I was about to encounter Murphy's Law full force.
The car service I reserved screwed up and thought I made my reservation for the following week. As soon as I discovered this problem, I also realized I had miscalculated what time I had to be at the airport because AirFrance, like France itself, runs on military time and in my brain addled brillance I had the hour of departure wrong. So I had an hour, not two, to get to the airport and check in.
I ran out and hailed a cab and schlepped the two suitcases into it. I made it to JFK with about 20 minutes to spare, but then had problems checking it (it was the computers, not me). Finally I was checked in and waiting, when the flight was delayed for two hours. Now I had nightmares about the Sauvage not being at the airport, thinking I wasn't coming. I mean I had been sure to give him all the flight information, but being French he didn't strike me as the type to, you know, check on flight status before leaving for the airport. And sure, I had his phone number, but that didn't mean that I knew how to explain to him where I am in the airport or that I could understand his response. Assuming that he even picked up the phone.
And by the time they let me on the plane, I had seven hours to obsess about all of this uninterrupted.
As I got closer and closer to Paris, my fear increased more and more. Would he be there waiting as he promised? I mean even without the flight delay, I was taking a Hell of a chance on a guy I didn't really
When you get off the plane at Charles de Gaulle, it's like walking into a Jacques Tati film. While the minute a plane lands at JFK there is a cacophony of cellphones and PDAs, at Charles de Gaulle, there is silence. No chatter among passengers. No ringtones. Just the absence of sound. Echoing. It's eerie. Kind of like landing and finding yourself in a reproduction of La Jetee.
I quickly made it through passport control and picked up my luggage and made my way to the International Passenger Pick-Up Point. And he....
wasn't there. HE WAS NOT THERE.
It was the realization of my greatest nightmare. I had traveled over the ocean to be stood up. I looked around. There weren't many people around. I decided to keep walking. The pick up area wasn't that big. It's not like he could be easily missed. I could feel my heartbeat in every part of my body. My eyelids throbbed with anxiety. What was I going to do in Paris for two weeks? Alone, heartbroken, hating myself for trusting...for believing...
Hands over my eyes.
If you hold a bird in your hand, you can feel its heartbeat. I’m sure he felt my heartbeat thumping through my eyelids.
I turned, and it was him. I was saved. And I thought, again, the hard part of the trip was over. I didn’t realize that the entire trip was going to be like this--nothing predictable, nothing foreseen. I had unknowingly booked my vacation to a very swiftly tilting planet.
He tried to explain to me something about his car. I thought he was telling me that it broken down. He asked several people for directions somewhere. We got on the little Charles de Gaulle "train" and got off at stop. We walked outside, and I found myself in the middle of a huge parking lot with a building. "You wait for me here" he said in French.
And so I stood there, not knowing where I was, with my luggage.Standing there waiting for him tricked every nerve in my body. I have an abandonment complex, and standing there waiting I became convinced that he might not come back with every minute that passed. A man walked by and saw me. "Are you lost?" he asked. Of course, in a way I was totally lost, and I'm sure I looked lost-a little girl standing in the middle of a parking lot with bags. "Oh no I'm waiting for a friend." I said. "You're sure not lost?" I wasn't, I wasn't sure of anything but I said I was fine.
The Sauvage returned, and we went to another building. By now I understood the car hadn't broken down. He had parked illegally, and it been towed. I sat waiting for him while he went into a little room. Eventually he came back and fetched me. The car wasn't far away.
We got in the car, and he began to drive. In what I could only call the Queens of Paris, I noticed that tents set up on the hillside. "What is that?" I asked. "Oh," he responded, "It's the Polish...the Czechs" and then embarked upon a list involving almost every Eastern Block country. Why would these people come here to camp out on the hillsides outside of Paris? I mean one doesn't come to Paris to commune with nature.
He had to get back to work, and so he dropped me off at his apartment. After dragging up the luggage and making sure I was comfortable, he said he would return soon. I walked around taking pictures. I even managed to fire up his computer and struggle with his French keyboard a bit before I finally collapsed in his bed, to tired to even shower.
Labels: adventure, men, paris, travel
Bad Bunni posted at 1/12/2008 09:58:00 PM
Frehel Diaries: Preparation for an Adventure
“But I-what cause, whose favor, could send me forth on such a voyage? I am not Aeneus or Paul:...And therefore I have my fears of playing the fool to embark on such a venture.” Canto II Dante’s InfernoI told him my last night in Paris that I couldn’t come back to Paris until August, and he said that was when he visited his parents. And so I thought the conversation was over.Two weeks after I returned to the US I received an email from him claiming “I told my parents you're coming in August.” No discussion. No thought of the logistics. A plain statement of fact.And if I had believed in what he wrote, I would have panicked.However, if you’re anything like me, and for your own sake I really hope you aren’t, I read something like that and I think “Yeah, riiiiiiiiiiight." Generally I don't believe anything I hear when a man's mouth is moving. Even if he isn't the one speaking. Even if he is just lipsynching to his iPOD, it's still suspect. I kept waiting for the email where he would change his mind, meet someone else, think it over and say “yeah, you know here’s the thing....” My father always used to say aim low and you’ll never be disappointed. I have since discovered that he was rather optimistic in that belief, but aiming low certainly does cut down on how much disappointment a person faces. And I’ve faced enough disappointment because of men than any ten women should have to face. Better to be skeptical, I thought, better to aim low and not expect much.Still time kept moving forward, and he wanted me to come. He kept asking when I would arrive. “I’ll pick you up at the airport and bring you to the apartment and let you rest,” he wrote to me. And the soft letdown the “You know I’d love if it, but...” never came. And suddenly, I realize that I’m going to actually buy the ticket, go to France and see this man.It’s everything I wanted. A real vacation with a man taking me to a strange exotic beachtown to meet his parents. It was everything I wanted and never thought I would get.And I’ve never been more terrified in my life.But still rather than meditate on my fear of having my greatest wish fulfilled, I decide to focus on practical matters-like what I was going to wear on this grand adventure. In order to do this I had buy some new bras, as well, most of them are functional, but not the type of thing to insight transatlantic lust. Before all you guys starting breathin’ hot and heavy thinkin’ about me trying on an assortment of titslings the sizes of small fruitcarts, I shall let you know buying a bra ceases to be a pleasure when your breasts become so large that what you buy no longer looks like a bra, but rather a yarmulke for conjoined twins. It’s not fun, and it’s not sexy. It’s annoying, and it can even be sad, but it had to be done. And to be sure the French woman helped me find some bras that actually fit (translation:did not explode). Once I had the bras, I had to begin to tackle an even bigger problem: how to pack for the trip.Normally when I travel, I’m a panties in a paper bag kind of girl. And if I’m going to Paris, the panties are optional. But this was different. I was going to meet his parents, and I had no idea all the types of situations we were going to be in. And it was important that I make the right decision. So not only panties, but bathing suits ( three of them with assorted coverups), a nice dress (and the heels to go with it), some “every day” clothes for sightseeing, all potential emergency health equipment (which came down to an assortment of band-aids, some neosporin, and a each bottle of advil and tylenol pm) plus necessary grooming products like an eyelash curler (Remember meeting the parents).My mother thought it would be cold, but then my mother always thinks it will be cold. I could be on a shuttle headed directly into the sun, and my mother would want me to bring a sweater. So even though I was heading to the beach for two weeks, I dutiful packed a sweater or two.And of course, my french-english english french gynormous Larousse Dictionary and my phrase books. In the end, it ended up being not just one suitcase, but two suitcases packed to the brim.But he promised to pick me up at the airport so once I checked my bags at JFK, well, it would be all downhill. Provided that he picked me up at the airport.Provided he was at the airport at all. But it was better not to think of these things and instead worry about bringing the right outfit for meeting his parents than possible abandonment at Charles de Gaulle.
***Notes on the Frehel Diaries: I will be adding photos and music (thanks to foxy tunes) to these posts to try and make the experience as full as possible. Consider it a writing experiment. Once I am done with the Frehel diaries, I will continue on to the latest spate of Paris diaries. Finally, I will write a post including ALL the France posts in chronological order.
Bad Bunni posted at 1/12/2008 05:19:00 PM
I Return, Triumphant
Oh, my dear readers, how I missed you. And thank you for your kind concern, but indeed as soon as I managed to escape from the ex's apartment my Paris adventure became wondrous. From the jazz musicians playing outside of Notre Dame while I drank mulled wine to hearing the nuns sing in Sacre Coeur to managing to redefine Room Service with a particularly cute hotel staff member, I had a fabulous trip. Strangely in Paris I believe in God. Nowhere else in the world but in Paris because only there do I see how events are interconnected, how a chance meeting in a cafe can result in an unexpected exploration of Paris in January. But most importantly, in Paris I remember who I am and I am capable of, which is nothing short of greatness. And as always, I left a path heartbroken men in my wake.
In 1805 Napoleon promised his men "You shall go home beneath triumphal arches." And this I have done.
I will be posting the Frehel diaries starting tomorrow while I type up my notes on Paris. I know the suspense it's killing you. (The Frehel Diaries are actually, for the most part, written so it won't take long.) Until then you can entertain yourself with these photos of my trip.
(And no my hotel hook up isn't figured there, but he was adorable I assure you.)
And I'm already beginning starting to feel the return from trip malaise, the oh my god I have to vacuum, clean the closet and bathroom, go grocery shopping, do the laundry, write my brilliant adventures, send out thank you notes, and recover from my dread illness in the 12 days before I go back to work. So keep on being supportive people because these next 12 days are going to be like a marathon for me.
Bad Bunni posted at 1/11/2008 04:54:00 PM