Wodehouse has long been my favorite author, even though he’s not particularly literary and his repertoire consists of 75 books with the exact same plot and Anything Goes. I love all of those things. I’m a sucker for hyperbolic, enthusiastically belted musical theater so that takes care of the latter, and the 75 former are just funny. In many of them, Jeeves- Bertie’s personal valet- has to take care of some problem that inevitably has the French chef Anatole threatening to quit. There’s a bunch of silliness and some implied debauchery, a bunch of “w. and soda, what, Jeeves? Pip pip, what ho, what ho, what ho.” And then Jeeves ingeniously solves the p. and the lark’s on the wing, the snail’s on the thorn: God’s in His heaven- all’s right with the world!
You’ve got to take it all with a grain of Anatole’s salt, but it’s thoroughly entertaining. And I 100% understand the refusal to part with Anatole’s services. The French can do things with animal output that would send a vegan to breakfast confessional, and a good French chef glows with epicurial halo.
That said, I meant to head to Pompidou today because it’s an inside-out Popple building. As fascinating as that is, though, I could happily stay in this bistro all day. Something egg, cream, and cheese-related just stole the muscle tone in my upper body and I’m gazing half-lidded at passersby as I wait for the waiter to touch my hand again, as he does whenever we interact. The next time means canard and mmmmmmm. As I wait, I superficially categorize people who pass: dapper Zach Jones in a snooty mood, soccer player, emaciated Billy Goodman in a suit, swaggering soccer player, flamboyant Dr. Eko, soccer player, taller and physically fit Mario Brother. I’m not really looking at the women because watching them walk in those shoes makes me uncomfortable. I mean 80% of the people here are wearing low cut sneakers, but on the off chance that they’re not, footwear is masochistic and terrifying.
Some time later I look at Pompidou for five seconds and head toward the Eiffel T again. It’s about a five mile walk through pretty stuff, and that’s floating my boat. Maybe I can stop again in the Tuileries…
Check that. I don’t have any Euro to drop in the publique toilettes, so I head toward a cafe outside the Louvre, figuring I’ll buy something delicious and use theirs. Whoops, petitioners! I have to pretend I can’t speak English. Actually, I pretend I can’t speak at all, the irony being that she wants me to sign something for the deaf and dumb. I do my best impression of an ancient Mayan- not because I look like one but because they’re the only people I can think of who wouldn’t be expected, in their schooling, to learn rudimentary English and to whom I wouldn’t sound vaguely racist comparing myself. Anyway, I stopped to listen to one of these fools yesterday and some guy came flying up yelling, “non! Non! PEEK-pocket! PEEK-pocket!” until I scurried away like a chastened sewer rat, thinking I was glad I didn’t make out with that Eiffel molester because they DO have little Fagin-mongers here, as it turns out. Thus, all subsequent petitioners ignored. I hope they don’t think I’m making fun of people who legitimately can’t speak.
Ahh, le café. I order a drink, which oops- that’s a half bottle of wine. Stupid metric system that I should’ve learned by now. Might have to read here for a good bit, pretending I ordered for two but am getting stood up. Ha! That actually sounds like fun. After every chapter I’m going to look up and around, exasperated and slightly pitiful.
Well, fearless reader, it seems I stopped taking notes at about that point. I did, in fact, make it through the Louvre again and then ambled across town to the Tower. I watched some funny breakdancers and stopped for crêpes. Popped on the train to get home.
L’hôtel’s Jeeves had prepared ma chambre. Au revoir, bonsoir, good night.