The last time I had steak frites was when I was in Paris in 2006. Oh how place name droppy I know. My preferred name droppy place that I’ve been to is Istanbul, but Paris also serves well in that regard.
The person I was staying with (she was great – we’d met when I was finding myself in Europe in 2003. We stayed at the same hostel in Rome. She’s English and she moved to Paris, lived secretly with her boyfriend – traditional parents – and worked on the Champs D’Elysee. My staying with her for a week ultimately ended our friendship, Oh, the drama. Eeek, may that be a lesson to you who want me to stay at your house) but before that, she and her beau took me to a great steak frites – and only steak frites – restaurant at a completely non-touristy place. Wow, the gravy was amazing.
Anyway, yesterday was the BIG LUNCH MEETING with the coordinators and the other teachers of the English Explore (the French teachers met today). Somehow this is paid but in an unpaid kind of a way. But the lunch was paid!!!!!! And wowza a snazzy bistro – business people et al. Lots of seafood which I don’t eat but there was steak frites! I think it was the most expensive thing on the menu! I was the first one to order so I also ordered a Sprite – eeek, no one else ordered a beverage. I realize that people with real jobs probably have these kind of free lunch meetings all the time but for me I WAS EXCITED BEYOND ALL PROPORTION TO THE ACTUAL EVENT. And I think there is another lunch next session but now now, one thing at a time. I must first survive this 5 week session that starts next week. Until then, I can prep at home. Seems there is only one photocopier for all the French and English teachers and it won’t be set up for a week. I must breathe about that.
Speaking of having emotions that are beyond all proportion to the actual situation, that seemed to have happened this past Sunday. I won’t go into any details lest I get sued (ha) and to spare the mortification of well, me really. Suffice to say that I freaked out at a situation that no one else seems to have freaked out about.
“Don’t freak out about this situation with the person,” advised Tracy on the phone.
“But I have big feelings,” I replied.
Later, in an e-mail to the person involved, I wrote, along with an apology, “I have big feelings.”
“Seems so,” she said.
I then phoned someone else who was one of the 99.9% of folks that were not upset with the situation. She explained things to me slowly and gently, which was nice because I was up on the mountain with my big feelings that were out of proportion to the situation.
I respect this person immensely and that is not out of proportion because she deserves that respect.
Oh, books. I found, “Good in a Crisis,” a memoir of sorts by Margaret Overton, who is a doctor and thus I respect her almost automatically. An anesthesiologist from the U.S. of well, A, she wrote about her brain aneuryism (seriously why are there so many difficult words to spell in this sentence), her divorce and a lot about her miserable internet dating experiences. Ha!!!!! I LOVED it. Her writing is very tight and very deadpan. If you like my blog style o writing, you will like her writing. She writes like I do but better and more, well, publishable. Deadpan is hard to write and she nails it. I hope she writes more, maybe about her experiences as a doctor. I love those doctor writes a book about what they do doctoring books. I’ve read several. I like reading about people working at their work. And also books people write about being paralyzed or almost being eaten by a bear, that kind of thing. But they must be written well. That’s the problem, publishers see a unique story – like say someone cutting out their own eye on a mountain – and they rush to get it published but the person and/or the ghost writer simply can’t write. And you often have to read all about the childhood of the person before they got on the mountain and cut out her eye and really I don’t care, I just want to get to the eye cutting part. Celebrity written books also often suffer from poor writing. Valerie Bertinelli’s are rather badly written and she once admitted in some interview that it was completely ghost written, that just writing the acknowledgements nearly did her in. Some publicist must have sat down and talked with her because she never admitted that again.
Now, I was disappointed in Anne Lamott’s latest, “Some Assembly Required: A Journal of my Son’s First Son.” I’ve always liked Lamott’s writing, particularly her non-fiction. A liberal-o-rama Christian (yes, that is not an oxymoron. Okay, settle down, Karen) I’ve always liked her take on things. Funny, self-deprecating and liberally spiritual. Her 20-year-old son, Sam, who she wrote about in “Operating Instructions” about his first year of life, helped write the book. Seems Sam’s girlfriend, Amy, got pregnant and popped when they were both 19. What I really didn’t like about the book is that Sam sounds way way way too together in his sections of the book. Way too evolved, as it were. Now I get that Anne instilled in him her own spiritual evolution but it still rang untrue. She does make clear that he and Amy were constantly fighting and that the thrill of having a baby was nearly equal to the stress of it for him. But really? I just found him pretentious. And worse than that, I found Anne Lamott pretentious as well. She seems to have a myriad of spiritual pals that she calls on constantly and they are always ready with some enlightenment expressed in hip and humouress ways. And she is quite repetitive – over and over she talks about how controlling she is and etc. And then she has a whole section when she is in India that doesn”t seem to fit in and just seems like it was thrown in to fill up the book. Sam’s bio says that he is, “an inventor, designer, entrepreneur and artist,” which to me means he doesn’t enjoy so much the regular job thing and fair enough, he”s only like 23 years old. Hopefully the sales of the book will help keep his wee one in diapers, although by now the child may be toilet trained.
Tonight I’m starting to read, “Eight Months on Ghazzah Street,” an early novel by HilaryMantel (who in 2009 wrote the critically acclaimed, Wolf Hall). Eight months is about an English woman who moves to Saudi Arabia with her husband for his job. I just started it and it is very, very good. Thank you, Janis, for that recommendation. Or rather she mentioned something about the book and I thought it sounded interesting.
Wow, this is a long blog entry. Anyway, it’s been fairly nice out, so I’m cycling this week a lot and trying to enjoy my last week of freedom before the 13 week job starts (well 14 weeks of time but there is a week off in between programs in late June). Kitsilano pool opens on Saturday and that is great. Too bad it couldn’t have been open during my massive amounts of unemployed weeks but alas, it would have been too cold.