Over the past four years, there have been any number of times when I have been fed up with this country and ready to hop on the first plane back home. Someone sneering at my French, lousy customer service, and bad weather were just a few of the things that set me off. But it's been a long time since I've had that feeling. Is it because I know I'm already heading home so I'm willing to forgive the little things? Or is that I've just become so acclimated to how things work that I just shrug and go on, knowing that getting frustrated serves no purpose?
Twice recently, someone cut in front of me in line, one time at the corner market, another time at the open air market and both times, I just let it go. I have the French skills to make a fuss if I want to but I just couldn't summon the energy to do so. And both times, the person standing behind me in line was insistent that I say something and prevent this grave injustice from occurring. The first time, I actually said to the lady behind me that being American, I felt it more polite to rest neutral rather than call the offender out. And believe it or not, she actually got a chuckle out of that.
All that being said, my skin is not made of steel. Yesterday, I carefully assessed the lines for home delivery at the big supermarket. Three registers were open and since you have to pay at least 100 euros to get delivery, most of the shoppers' carts were overflowing. I contemplated and made my choice, only to have an overtanned lady, who had clearly had too much cosmetic surgery and probably spent more money on her hand bag than I spend on my entire wardrobe in a year, butt in front of me because she realized the line she was in only took cash. I was all geared up to give it to her but she turned her head and studiously ignored me for the rest of the transaction. And that's what pissed me off even more. She knew she was in the wrong but her own self importance justified the action.
Okay, so this incident is not making me change my travel plans. But it's a good reminder that life in Paris is not as candy coated as I may some day remember it to be. And woe to the next person who tries to sneak ahead of me in line. You can expect my cart on your heels and a good tongue lashing to boot.