he calls me ma puce. my father used to call me Petersilie, German for parsley, and potato nose. an overzealous admirer once called me his kitten, comparing my eating habits to those of a cat, thinking it flattering. and non-English speakers often call me P, as in the mum I need to go to the bathroom kind of pee.
I’ve been called many things in my life, but ma puce? my plague-spreading, blood-sucking, uber-agile, rat-loving insect? but then again, why not? monsieur is French after all, and les Français are weird. and at least there is a hidden symmetry in all of this. I went from being called pee to being called my flea. the wordsmith in me is très amused.
tomorrow, monsieur-ma-puce is coming back from a short pre-Christmas around the world in seven days trip. Paris – Amsterdam – Kuala Lumpur – Melbourne – Auckland – San Francisco – Paris. he only spent significant time in Malaysia and New Zealand, and especially the former was weird. him slowly sweating away in a place I called home just a few weeks ago and that I miss dearly, me shivering on his couch in a place that is feeling more and more like home but is nevertheless not a place I’d chose to be in if I had anything to say in the matter.
Europe at the beginning of winter!
what was I thinking?
by now, I’m not the only one who thinks he’s a spy. he still calls his business trips missions, an understandable but also telling mistranslation that sheds an unfortunate light onto the fact that I’m sleeping on top of a safe containing a very impressive collection of handguns. for Americans and Canadians, this might not be anything to bat an eyelid about, but for Europeans, this is a big deal. my boyfriend comes with two adorable, little girls, a sweet tooth, lots of facial hair, a penchant for cheese and a machine gun. only the fact that he doesn’t have the kind of disposable income that mostly American TV shows led me to believe a professional assassin would have, made me dismiss on-demand extermination as the likely cause of above mentioned combination of guns and gallivanting. monsieur-ma-puce is a spy. he drinks his martinis shaken, not stirred.
a friend [pas moi] getting married [and, in the days before and after her big day, drunk repeatedly!] kept me busy enough. it was the least elaborate wedding I’ve ever been to or will go to in the future, and I loved every moment of it. the groom was wearing white jeans, old converse and didn’t even bother taking off his scarf. the bride was wearing a white summery dress and almost forgot to change out of her winter boots into something more festive. the [civil] ceremony lasted a staggering eight minutes. and when the registrar mentioned the importance of family and children, half of the six guests [including the two witnesses] rolled their eyes, the other half snorted audibly. my heart went out to each and every one of them instantly. cynics of the world, unite!
we had drinks at a bar that had, of course, forgotten [ignored?] our reservation. and in typical French fashion, it took the six available waiters fifteen minutes to re-arrange a few tables in their essentially empty establishment, and another twenty minutes to pour [find?] eight glasses of champagne. not that we cared all that much. we ended the day with falafel in a tiny Jewish restaurant in the Marais, over-dosing on harissa. but how to end the year?
to be content with little is difficult; to be content with much, impossible.
― Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Aphorisms