Monday, November 12, 2012

still in Paris with mr. cranky pants

Jason wouldn't ask for help if he were hanging from a tree root sprouting out the side of a cliff with masticating crocodiles circling below and an avalanche rescue team up above twiddling their thumbs just begging for something to do. That's how oblivious he is to the career needs of others.

I on the other hand ask for assistance from total strangers all the time in my hometown so you can imagine how that habit mushroomed when I was overseas. I'm old, I don't know how much time I have, I need to know now.

My son made it clear he was bothered every time I asked some person directions or when I needed help counting my change and especially when I questioned two gentlemen behind me in line to use a one-seat public toilet in Paris. Entrance was gained by pushing buttons and one of the fellows showed me how to do that. Once inside I realized my mistake. A French woman was purring over an intercom and she was telling me what I needed to do and I understood nothing. I panicked like the amateur tourist I am and began pushing all the buttons and the toilet started flushing and water sprayed out of openings in the floor to clean that surface and it seemed like a long time since I saw daylight. I started banging on the door and the sweet voice above me just caused my agitation to escalate and I was so relieved when the door finally opened and I never did pee.

One advantage with aging is you lose that self-consciousness your teen-aged psyche worked so hard to construct long ago. I could fall out of a moving vehicle totally nude in front of a busload of professional football players and and feel no remorse other than for my scraped knees. What other people think of me is none of my business.

But a 39-year-old bachelor traveling through Europe with his mother is weird toast indeed and he is like other non-married males, nit-pickity like a virginal old library lady, whiny and overly set in his routine. Walking down the hostel hallway in my slippers and housecoat with toothbrush and paste in hand the other somewhat dirty young residents smile and nod their heads and they usher me to the front of the toilet line. They look at me with gentle expressions, they miss their mothers I think.


Jason said...

Maybe all Jason's are a little cranky and don't like asking for help.......I'm the same! Although I've not been to Paris for many a year, I do miss it.

Arizaphale said...

I have been in one of those toilets. The BA and I both screamed as jets of water akin to the water cannons used by riot police, hosed down our feet. Seriously! We did NOT pee on the floor!!!!
And I'm right with you on losing the self consciousness thing.