Monday, December 27, 2010

At the License Bureau

By all reckonings, the process of obtaining a dog's license should be an orderly and routine one; a situation that would still whatever fears of bureaucrats resides within me and others who are somewhat anarchistic deep inside.  So I appeared at the registration office, and was served by this lady who appeared to be as old as her records, mad as a hatter, and hard of hearing as well.  The events of the interview did not go as smooth as planned, alas.

"Madame, I would like a dog license, if you please."

"Of course.  Let me find the hog licenses.  I compliment you on your civic-mindedness.  Few people think to register their hogs.  Oh, here is one."

"But, Madame, I wish a dog license.  My dog does eat messily, but I fear that the hog license will not do."

"Oh, I see.  The name?" she said.

"Françoise"  was my reply.

"And the breed?"

"I do not know."

"Ahhh, a mongrel."  I was both confused and upset, and this increased with the next question:

"A dog, or a bitch?"

"My Lord!  the choices I am offered are offensive.  Since I use make-up artfully, hopefully I am certainly not a dog,  And, while I occasionally have my moments, I try to be even-tempered and inoffensive."

"Young lady, we need this information to register your dog Françoise."

"I am Françoise; I am the mistress."

She said, "Oh, I see..... then we need to fill out this form."  [She takes out the Mistress's License Form.]  Now, let's see, you are female, yes?"

"Yes, I wish it was more self-evident."

"And you wish to be a mistress of: a politician, a man of affairs, a sports figure, or a rock musician?"

"Huh?  Does one need a license for that?"

"But of course.  The government has an obligation to maintain the proper professional standards.  Lately mistresses had been poorly represented in the news, with unsophisticated, uncultured people coming into prominence in that profession, especially in the UK and the USA.  This is to maintain proper standards of industrial quality."

"Oh.....I think I see.  The choices are so dispiriting.  Rock musicians act so boorish, wrecking hotel rooms and using drugs.  Sports figures do not engage in witty speech.  Politicians are embarassments all around (especially recent ones), and men of affairs are always working.  Is it possible to be a mistress of an engineer or a police officer?"

"NO!  Those are not approved categories"  [Utter shock.]  
"Oh, pardon me, Madame."  One does not trifle with the bureaucracy with impunity.  "I do not have anyone in mind in particular, anyway."

"Oh, one will be assigned to you, pending your approval, of course."
"Of course.  I wouldn't have it any other way," I replied.

"Yes, and you must also get the approval of the wife of the man whose mistress you are to be.  That is the rule, and it is also to see that standards are maintained.  A woman's social standing is compromised if her husband has an unsuitable mistress, one who might be seen in grandstands of motor car races.  You must take some instruction to obtain and maintain your license.  Oh, yes, you seem to require some instruction in proper dress."  [She was appraising my attire, a tee shirt, blue denim mini, and loafers.]

I eventually got her to understand that my status was to be a mistress of a dog.  But, curiosity prevailed, so I asked:  "So, what other types of licenses do you have?"

She mentioned a few. 

So, now I finally got my license, and went back to my place while musing on this surreal encounter. 

I did get a nice rhinestone collar for myself on the way home, and am reading the employment magazines looking for a position as a Warlord.  Er, Warlady.

Monday, December 20, 2010

In an Auberge in Bretagne

I must confess that I am in a free relationship with my guy from Texas, despite being separated by an ocean and seven time zones.  As a result, we must schedule our visits on an infrequent basis: every three of four months.  Sad but true.
On the bright side, we both have our careers, such as they are: he can be the mathematics professeur in the USA and I can be the government functionary in France.  It's not modeling, but it brings in my Euros and his US Dollars.
On the flip side, we are separated.  And I live with Maman, and feel monitored my her, despite my being in early 30's.
On one occasion of these visits he came to Europe, as he often does.  I met him at CDG, and we were to spend a 'dirty weekend' at an auberge (like a U.S. B & B) near Vannes, in Bretagne.  It was a beautiful inn, and refreshed after a delicious sleep, we were set to enjoy a restorative break-fast in the dining-room with other diners.
Now the Bretons tend to be direct; a fact that puzzles the rest of the French.  This waitress at the café enjoyed a malicious pleasure in asking embarassing questions heard by all in the café.  It is a way of throwing them off-stride, but providing entertainment and amusement.  Thus it was.  The maid in the café sensed that my friend was not French by his accent (improving), and so asked me:
Ton ami, c'est un Americain?  [Your friend, he is an American?] 
Oui   Un Texan.  [Yes.  A Texan.]
Ah........combien de fois ............  [Ah, how many times  (were you intimate last night?)]   
Me, I was puzzled.  How to answer this embarassing question, without troubling my guy?  And I sensed that it was to make sport of him if I didn't answer, or the number was unimpressive.  One must follow the advice of the American singer Tammy Wynette: Stand By Your Man.   I was not going to be the monkey of surrender in this case.
So I blurted out, "Seulement cinq fois, il était fatigué."  ["Only five times, he was tired."]
And, after a pause, I said, "Excuse me, but I am getting the fatigue aussi.  We must lie down to be restored."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Frannie and the Geese

Looking back, this presented a funny tableau; but it was one of my ungood days at the time that it was happening.
It was one of those cold, grey mornings.  Since I had many things on my mind, I forgot to do one of the requirements for a comfortable long trip of motoring.  I soon regretted it, and looked for a toilette that might serve my purposes.  I found a public one near the highway,
I was lucky, or so I thought.  My wish was that it be merely reasonably clean; being heated and having flush toilets and paper would be considered bonuses.  I was blessed with all those features in this building.  Yes, I thought I was in W.C. heaven
But then things deteriorated.
It was already occupied by the spawn of the devil.  As soon as I entered, these furious large white creatures assaulted me with honks and hisses, knocking me down and causing me to lose my shoe and purse.  I received several pecks in my legs and derrière before I could retreat to safety to the water closet.
It was a group of geese that did it.  They were probably placed in there by a farmer to keep them out of the cold.  And they did not learn to share.  Being of the town and not the farm, I have always been timid around geese; they can be surly brutes and can injure you.
So, my situation was this: I was in the W.C., and these geese were honking and hissing at me from the other side of the stall door.  A happy thought: they will become accustomed to me, and leave me alone.
No such luck.  One old gander seemed bent on paying back old scores.  Now my race and that of the geese have been at odds.  It was they who honked when my ancestors tried a sneak attack on the Romans, and we countered with paté!  The drawings of the little Alsatian girl herding the geese have her correctly with a stick, so she can protect herself.  Nasty creatures.  Not found in polite society.
I tried to argue with reason:
"I will go away and nothing will be said of this."
"I'm a vegetarian.  I don't like to eat goose liver."
"I'm a good girl.  I go to church."
"I have contributed to the Orphan Goosling Fund."
"I never say the 'm' word.'"
"I voted for Jacques Chirac."  Okay, I lied.
Can you bribe geese?  I was willing, but had nothing to offer.  Besides, the W.C. room was so small that all were close at hand. 
My time in there neared a half-hour, and I was desperate.  My remaining shoe provided no intimidation to this evil gander, who was by now sticking his head under the stall door.  [Somehow, flailing him with my bra seemed rather lame and unproductive.]  Regretably, no one left a plunger or broom in the stall, so I was really defenseless.
Finally, I found that if you took the cover off the paper dispenser, the paper came on a very large, continuous roll (nonperforated) around a large, hollow, wooden tube.  So I took this roll off, it being as long as my arms, and tried to use it to fend off the goose.  It had most of the paper still on, and it was heavy.
It happened.  I was either lucky, or the gander was very unlucky: he put his head in the hollow core.  It thereupon got wedged in, so it was like he was wearing a big, heavy collar like the people in Rubens's paintings wore centuries ago.  The gander was furious, and would spit fire if he could.  Since he was distracted dragging his toilet paper collar around, he was distracted and I was able to slip past him and the agitated geese, retrieve my shoe and purse, and go to leave.
My temper was beyond me.  I turned around, and give the gander a sharp kick in the tail for the miseries that he gave me, and ran as fast as I could.
Later on, the others asked me how I came by the marks on my legs, perhaps thinking God know's what.  They found it hard to believe that they were due to geese! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Flu Fashion Statement

I am convinced that having the flu makes one function less intelligently; a dire circumstance, gaving the low kilowattage at which I normally operate.
While going trough the rigors I had the usual fever, aches, sneezing, coughing, and honking sounds associated with influenza.  I spent the time sleeping, watching tasteless television programs, and being cross.  My surroundings and myself could merit being described as a 'disaster area.'
When I felt a little better, and required a visit to the pharmacie, I thought I might get some pastries and some magazines.  So I kind of got dressed: no great effort, thinking that by going at that time no one other than the news-kiosk and pastry shop owners would see me.  I could live with that, after a fashion.  The people who see you before your coffee see you in your rawest, feral, most basic state.  (No, it is not your priest, or the person who fits you for lingerie.)   
I put on some tattered, don't-ever-wear-outside jeans, an exhausted old gray sweat shirt, an old coat of improper length, a scarf to hid my Medusa-like hair, and sunglasses to hide the bloodshot eyes,  No makeup.  After all, this was just a quick dash in and out. 

Much to my horror, many people were out, and they seemed to stare at me.  Why?  Was I somehow indecently dressed?  Did my clothes clash that much?  Did I drool on my clothes while asleep?  I could discover no clues.  What made it worse was that I encountered several people to whom I had to exchange greetings!   

It was good to get the Viennese pastries and espresso.  And I got several lowbrowed gossip magazines that I hid in a folded-up copy of the newspaper.

It was only after I returned that I discovered that I went out wearing bedroom slippers!