Monday, December 19, 2005

from Madison: my Oscar speech

I’m feeling grateful. The trip was such a boost for me, but the boost came not only from being in France. It also came from those who hovered and helped. And there were many:

* Every trip I have ever taken in the last 20 years has had three people tracking my moves and, when the technology evolved to permit it, sending peppy emails. It means tons to me, guys. Thank you.

* And speaking of emails, my students are used to a 5 minute email turn around. There is hardly a minute in the day when I am not connected. Except when I travel. Sorry. It took me sometimes hours to answer your Qs. You are so patient. Now I’m back to 5 minutes, okay?

* On this trip there was Ed: my travel companion with almost as strong a personality as mine. Thanks for not taking that train to visit friends in Nottingham the day I punched too hard. Oh, and thank you for looking at the maps so carefully that when we got lost, it was almost always my fault. Almost. That return to Yvoy? I really was right. I took the correct turn on the round-about. And thanks for loving the food so much. And for ending each day with a smile.

* The chefs at both Cheval Blancs: dang blasted, you guys rock! And chef Michel – your office clutter (and your derriere) was adorable.

* The Air France agents who handed out Valrhona chocolates at CDG airport. This year I had access to the business lounge. There I am pampered and spoiled with champagne, croissants, cookies, baguettes, you name it. But the masses upstairs get nothing. This time everyone at the gate got champagne and Valrhona chocolates. How nice.

* Oh, all the French waiters. I want to kiss your professional faces – you are so great at what you do. My heroes.

* The older woman in Blere who decided she wanted to guide my car out of a tight spot. Her gesturing and waving me forward was precious. I will not forget it soon.

* The commenters, all of you, thank you. There are times when I wonder how sane I am typing away at 4 in the morning, bugging locals for Internet access, conniving ways of dialing up if all else fails. I mean really, you have to wonder. Then. I hear from you and I know you’re reading and it makes it less nutty to be testing the patience of all those around me. Thank you for your words, your encouragement, your time.

~~ from your very humbled Ocean author