Travelogue, Part Four:

The French Dis(connection)

Oh, French people. They are tres delightful, no?

Sunday, I was making my way back to the hotel after a lovely tour of the Globe. It had been a long, long, loooong day of tube stations, as the District and Circle lines (the ones I KNOW, dang it!) were both out of service. There'd been numerous exchanges, several bus stops, and walking--lots and lots of walking--and I just couldn't take it anymore. It was dark, I was lost, I had a massive headache and a severe caffeine deprivation, and also my feet hurt.

So I (wo)manned up and threw out my hand and waved down a cab. That is the first time I've ever done that. I must have done it right, though, because one pulled over. I stuck my head in the window and said, "Duke of Leinster Hotel, please."

He replied, "Dyuk? Wheh ees dat?"

Yes, the CAB DRIVER, who presumably knows a little something about London Geography, was asking ME, the Lost Girl, for directions.

"It's at Leinster Gardens," I said, which meant nothing to me, of course, seeing as how I am Always Lost.

"Oh, dat ees back deh," he said, and then DROVE AWAY.

And I, shocked, just stood there in the middle of the road, my hand still reaching for the door handle. I didn't know what to do; all I could think was, "Ooh! The FRENCH!!"

By comparison, I flagged down a cab later that night, as I was leaving my hotel again (which I had WALKED to, FRENCH CAB DRIVER!). The driver pulled over and said in his clipped British accent, "Where you off to, luv? I'm on me way home."

I tried to send him on, but he asked me again what my destination was, and when I told him, he waved me into his cab.

I don't know if it was really on his way home, or if he went out of his way because he was being polite or being compassionate or being British. But I do know that, in my head, there was a huge brass band playing Rule Britannia, because with me, the Brits will always win. Always.

As I was walking down every street in the West End, I mentally composed a list of Reasons the French Can Becote Ma Derriere (I don't even care if that's wrong).

1. Drove away and left me standing in the street
2. Smell bad
3. Too hairy
4. Make their dogs look ridiculous
5. Paris Hilton (what? it's related!)

And of course I have incorporated my own trials and tribulations--once again--into a lesson for my speech class. This week we are talking about intrapersonal communication, and one thing we are learning is how your perceptions are shaped by various things in your life, such as background experience, physical characteristics, skills and interests, and (the one that directly relates to this story) present mood and circumstances.

"I am sure," I told my class Tuesday, after telling this story, complete with fake accents and exasperated throwing up of my hands, "that there are some nice French people out there. But because at that time my mood and circumstances were not so inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, the hottest French guy in the world could have come up to me and said, "Ms. FlowER, weel you mahhry me? I am vehhry reesh,' and I would have punched him in the mouth."

Today I gave a quiz over the information we talked about Tuesday. There was only one question every single student got right: What is one thing that can affect your perception? To a man, they all wrote, "present mood and circumstances," but I know they were thinking, "Ooh! The FRENCH!"

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