Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Lesson Three

Lesson Number Three:
There is Always Enough Time for a Little Caress.

(part of a series, beginning with 'Lessons in French Courtship'.)

Second to charming yet not quite as complimentary, caress ranks high on the list of words I hear during my quotidian walk through Les Halles. Indeed, I’m often stopped in the streets and asked to caress fellow pedestrians. Unfortunately for the men of Paris, I’m usually running to work or worrying about being late for a rendezvous. I can’t be bothered to stop and caress strangers in the street.

I try to cut them off before they have had time to make a proposal--my interactions are largely limited to the initial “Mademoiselle!” as I brush past them. However, on the occasional sunny afternoon when I’m strolling back through Les Halles on my way home from work, full of love for the city, I’ll stop and entertain those why try to engage me in conversation. (The last time I did this I ended up adopting a child in Africa.)

Last week, as I exited the metro onto Rue Rambuteau and began to navigate my way over the cobblestone, a man on a bicycle rode up beside me. He was an attractive, dreadlocked man in his mid-twenties, dressed in over-sized clothes that I’m sure got caught in his gears from time to time. As he slowed his pace to match mine, he spoke. The love that I have for you, bébé. My heart burns only for you. I stopped. He drove circles around me with his bike.

“You’re in love with me?” I asked. “I don’t see how this is possible.” I was in a good mood.

He stopped short and straddled his bike. He looked at me, surprised, and countered, “But you’re so charming, I fell in love with you way back there.” He pointed down the street behind me. “I know I love you. What’s your name?”


“Sandrine. I want to share the path of love with you, Sandrine. Let me call you.”

Dreadlocks was out of time. “Well,” I said, “any other day, I’d surely give you my number, but actually, I’m leaving Paris this afternoon.”

“Where are you going?”
“China. I’m moving there to teach French to children.”
“When are you coming back?”
“Never. I’m moving there forever.”
He considered this for a moment. “Well if I can’t call you, can I at least caress you a little?”

No dice. I told him I had a plane to catch, skirted around his bike and headed down the street.

Before pedaling away for good, he slowed down long enough to tell me what I'd learned long ago, “Mademoiselle, I don’t care if your plane leaves in two minutes. There is always enough time for a little caress.”

(Go back to Intro)
(Go back to Lesson One)
(Go back to Lesson Two)
(Move on to Lesson Four)
(Skip ahead to Lesson Five)


At 9:33 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Hey, remember the Cockpit? And how you used to say almost the exact same thing as you smacked me on the head as the alarm clock was going off every morning? Except it was something like "There is always time for a smack on the head."


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