Recently my husband cooked me bacon and eggs for breakfast. As I chomped on the pieces of bacon, happy as a pig in mud (oh no that’s not fair), I announced that we shouldn’t trust a person who doesn’t like bacon. I mean truly, with the sweet, but salty, crispy but tender, lip smacking, finger licking moreish-ness of bacon, how could anyone be of sound judgement if they didn’t like bacon.
Was I serious? Well, no, at least not literally, but it does prompt me to look closer that the character in front of me. What do you mean you don’t like bacon? Why don’t you like bacon? If it’s for religious reason, they are off the hook, or if they are vegetarian. However, any other explanation and I’m just not sure about the person in front of me, and their judgement should be questioned.
Recently I was buying bread at my local bakery. The cashier calculated my total sale to be $10, so I gave her a $5 dollar note. Yup, I was severely fatigued but some would even say jetlagged. Whatever the case, I’d arrived back home from Paris after a whirl wind week spent living it up. Having only slept about nine broken hours in a twenty four hour period, I apologised, laughed and explained to her that I’d just stepped off a plane and hadn’t woken up yet. The confession led to several questions on her part, where, when, what country etc… I think you get my drift.
Enthused by the chance to share my travel tales, I perked up to ask her if she’d ever been to Paris, and what did she make of it all. Truth be told, I asked the question with about the same amount of sincerity as the checkout chick that asks “how are you” and expects you to answer “good thanks” despite whether or not it’s true. “Did you like Paris, is so rhetorical to me, that I already pre-empt the “yes it was amazing, I mean who wouldn’t”. So when this lady replied with “no I didn’t like it”, she now had my undivided attention.
This lady in front of me. Was she an alien? I mean really, a person with a heartbeat, a real life person. Was she immune to the magic and essence of The City of Lights. Did she not see the monuments to romance that beautify the cobblestoned streets? Has she not wandered the enigmatic lane ways within the Marais that hint at secret lives of scandal and love, and tales untold. Was she not charmed by the incandescent glow that illuminates the streets, like something from a movie-set. Did she not question what it was that sparked the great writers and artists through history to choose Paris as their muse for masterpieces? Or maybe she noticed this, was love struck, and precisely at that moment stepped in the dog poo that litters the streets, slipped and smacked her head on the cobblestones.
So I simply asked her, “Why not?” The short version of her story involved a hotel booking error, a seemingly incompetent travel agent, and an inability to find last minute accommodation once everything had turned pear-shaped. To add insult to injury, she couldn’t operate the computers in the internet café due to a language barrier, making sourcing alternate accommodation even more challenging. Oh, and she didn’t speak any French at all, including “Hello” (Bonjour). Yes it helps if you say hello to the people you deal with.
It was at this point that I realised her dislike for Paris was actually things that went wrong whilst in Paris, rather than what was wrong with Paris itself. Through a breakdown of communication with a travel agent, failure to acknowledge others in the customary manner and frustrations with English not being the primary language, “Paris” was the scapegoat.
Am I skewed in my overall analysis of her story? Most likely so, I am a Francophile after all. But in future I’ll be sure to ask any person that says they dislikes Paris, if they dislike free chocolate, long walks on the beach, oh and of course, bacon too!
I’m tipping they probably do.