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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

a battle of will

GrandeepicerieThe moral of this story is, don't mess with Pim, especially when she's hungry!

I just got back to the hotel from a crazy late afternoon at Le Bon Marché shopping for clothes and shoes and food and food and food—in the span of less than three hours I became a proud owner of a myriad of paper and plastic bags, yes, for clothes and shoes and food and food.

Hungry, tired and in a hurry not to be late for dinner with Maurice and Pierre, I decided to take a taxi instead of the metro. I went to the taxi stand at the corner just outside the store to wait for one. I was at the head of the line, then a group of timid Japanese girls behind me, then a very properly dressed French couple in their early 50's, the man in his sport jacket and fancy shoes, and the lady carrying a Monogram Vernis Louis Vuitton bag. As usual in Paris, we waited for a long time, still no taxi.

Finally one came, but from the other side of the corner from where we were waiting. The Frenchman waived, the taxi slowed down to a stop at the corner and motioned toward my general direction to come to him. I started gathering my bags, but before I could finish the French couple was already at the door, the man politely holding it, letting his wife into the cab.

I ran up to them and said, excuse me, I was ahead of you in the line. The man answered, yes but this was not the queue, the queue was over there on the other street—but the other street was just 10 yard away!! How rude!! I was about ready to give up and walk away, when he turned to speak to his wife, could you believe she wanted to take our taxi, he said incredulously. His wife was mumbling in agreement as she entered the cab, with him still holding the door. Damn this, I thought, then turned around and got into the taxi with the woman.

Your place first or mine? I asked, deadpan. The wife scrambled out the other door before I could say anything else. I've never seen anyone move that fast, especially in those spiky Louboutin heels. The man was still holding the door, frozen in disbelief, so the cab driver, who had been listening with amusement to this whole conversation, told him very politely to please close the door so we could go. As we were pulling away, he turned to me and said, bravo mademoiselle. I was smiling all the way to the hotel.

P.S. You know, before people accuse me of calling the French rude, I must say that I don't find them rude at all in general. I am in Paris all the time, and I haven't found the Parisians any ruder than anyone else in any other big cities in the world. I think this was more a case of rich people thinking they could get away with anything. Oh well, that will learn them!


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