Monday, November 28, 2005


There are only three of them: couples where I am a devoted fan and loyal friend of both him and her. [They are all a him and a her and I am speaking about this side of the ocean and still, I may have forgotten someone, so forgive me.]

How is it that you wind up not liking the partner of someone you hugely like? Easy. One can be a creep, the other a gem. But more often, you simply do not know much about the other person. They may be better than best – how would you know? They don’t connect with you, nor you with them. It could be situational, it could be intentional -- no matter. It's fine that way.

But these three couples are different. For the most part, I do stuff with the both and it is always tremendous and wonderful.

And through a magnificent confluence of circumstances, within this one week I will see, separately, all three. It’s as if Christmas is coming early to the loft: I am that happy.

Last night I spent time with pair number one. That’s like a trip to France right then and there. They have young children to whom they speak French (possibly because they themselves are French) and this positively thrills me, as my fluency in French is about elementary school vocabulary level (okay, add to it putin, merdre and a few odd words of that nature, but after that, it’s all about Je prefere le tarte, je n’aime pas le poisson and similar basic French phrases, these very ones overheard just last night, as a matter of fact).

So in spite of the French, I understand the dynamics and feel like I am for a minute sitting in a tiny left bank apartment and we’re discussing the school situation for les enfants. [I am told Paris left bank apartments are indeed small, which does not surprise me since every single hotel room I have inhabited in Paris has been on the left bank and the dimensions were never more than 6 by 6 feet or less. Or so it seemed.]

As these people are European, it is entirely pleasing to commiserate about upbringing standards and to applaud our own stricter European approach to matters of discipline, where the kid knows that “non” to les glaces is non-negotiable and where if you don’t eat some poisson you may as well kiss le tarte good-bye. My kind of people!

My own daughters accuse me of giving them the Stare of Deep Disappointment when they misbehaved and at that point they said they feared for their lives, even though my punishment never ever went beyond the Stare of Deep Disappointment. But it was enough to send them into states of great misery, as us European types know how to give very effective Stares of Deep Disappointment.

Last night, at the end of the evening (which had a delicious salad of fresh spinach and market tomatoes, a poisson baked in an intense broth with vegetables, then cheeses and le tarte below) I left feeling that I can now cancel my forthcoming trip to France. I felt that satiated. [Thankfully, that feeling left me by the time I pulled into the loft and my forthcoming trip remains forthcoming.]

Report on couple number two and couple number three will appear later in the week. Or not. Sometimes these evenings are too private or too saturated with cosmos or wine so that the recollections are paltry.

Madison Nov 05 442