Repeat after me: “Have kids, they said!” Use a sarcastic tone. It’s got to be told with the most ironic voice. It’s just got to be. Unless of course you’re trying to BS someone. In that case, if you want to You-should-have-kids! a friend (but regarding what you’re about to do, your friendship is officially in peril) then a cheerful tone is expected. Don’t knowingly smile. Don’t mock. In a word, play up the innocent, you sarcastic evil. I must warn you though, it won’t work with your siblings or closest friends; they’ve seen you in action with your own adorable brats (talking about my own; maybe yours aren’t that terrible).
I’d love to be able to point out that while Caro is definite in her tastes about coffee, I am more so about wine … but, let’s face it: I’m not. Thankfully, she’s not either, so this means that if she ever comes to my house, I know she’ll be game for kicking back with some wine on tap.
I’m a night owl. Ergo, I’m a coffee person. I’m the kind of person who hits the Snooze button about five times in the morning, procrastinating to the most impossible limit. I’m the kind of person who wears sunglasses straight of out bed in a foolish attempt to appear like a being of undisputed human origin, thereby sparing their kids from subsequent horrible night terrors. I’m the kind of person whom you don’t talk to (and you don’t wanna try) before they’ve had several double espressos. I’ve been proudly labeled a coffee purist from the time I was 16. No cream, no sugar. Coffee’s got to be black or it’s not happening. No such thing as shades of black. I thought Kofi Annan was a new brand when first I first heard the name. Sort of an obsession, really.
I’m an excellent driver. Really. I’ve been driving for 21 years and I’ve never gotten into an accident. With another car, I mean. I won’t count rocks or trees if you don’t. But even though I’m great behind the wheel, I’m admittedly a bit clueless when it comes to anything more complicated than an oil change. And it does get a bit complicated trying to aim the car over the pit.
To illustrate my point: I was trying to think of the word “pit” and had this conversation just now with my husband:
Me: What do you call the hole that I drive over —
Me: No, you didn’t let me finish. The hole that I drive over at the instant oil change place.
Kyle: You’re not going to pretend to your readers that you actually do that yourself, are you?
So with that in mind, it was no surprise that one day when I heard a thump as I was driving, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. I quickly went over the possibilities in my head. Rock? Maybe. Pothole? Never. Squirrel? Gross. When in doubt, my motto is to keep going and pretend it never happened. So I happily did that for exactly ten more feet until KER-WHUMP.
I like aphorisms. There’s one for everything. Let me inculcate on you one that has been invented for Parisians. I’m afraid it’s not going to be one of those overly-discussed ever-flattering clichés like the somewhat imposing Eiffel Tower, the spectacular spectacular Moulin Rouge or the overwhelmed-with-gargantuan-dog-poop cobblestones. No, this peculiar one is a much more down-to-earth view of the city; let’s talk hard, dull routine:
“Métro, boulot, dodo.”
Literally “Subway, work, sleep.”
“You don’t have enough points, sir.” The raspy voice called out to me from behind a tall lectern. A huge gate stood directly behind him.
“I’m sorry?” I asked the small bearded man. “I didn’t know there was a rewards program. Do I need a certain amount for the Gold or Elite Circle? A bit more if I’d like to do a meet and greet?”
“The points,” he continued patiently, “are assigned based on predetermined criteria. They are cumulative and represent the value of your life.”
“Predetermined criteria, huh? Sounds convenient. How many do I have?”
The old man consulted a list. Ah, yes, Santa Claus’s proverbial naughty or nice list. Or was I mixing up my saints? As he thumbed through my file, I tried to think of anything that could be construed as nice, but I was coming up blank. So I wasn’t surprised when he announced in a supercilious voice punctuated by raucous coughing, “You only have 438 points, sir, which is not nearly enough for our program. Don’t worry; I’ll arrange for transportation to take you to the correct destination.”
“Excuse me? I demand to see a list of rules as well as how the points are distributed before I can accept this! It’s just not fair!” Forget the Gold Circle; I was definitely in the Eighth.
“You don’t have enough points, sir.”
The sentence echoed in my head again, uninvited, and although he had seemed fairly sorry for me (as much as a doctor showed emotion anyway), I could still feel the chill that had slowly run along my spine, as obnoxious as a vicious ice cube making contact with the back of one’s neck and dripping down one’s bare back on this cold, so cold afternoon in December. I had soon forgotten the most elementary process of breathing and I had instinctively reached out for my boy and gently patted his head.
“You don’t have enough points, sir,” Stew said.
“Why? How many do I need?”
“Well, three, sir. That’s why it’s called triangulation.”
“Oh, all right. Well then, you find me a third point, kid,” Joe retorted.
“I can’t, sir, it doesn’t work that way.”