Thursday, October 06, 2005

dyke hunting

You haven't experienced France properly until you've had to deal with the Strike of the Week. The French love la grève almost as much as they love wine. I've already had to deal with two, and I haven't been here three weeks yet. I'm teaching at two schools and when I visited the second one on Tuesday, I couldn't meet any of the English teachers because they were on strike.
Then yesterday I had to go to Metz for a training session that all us language assistants were required to attend. The program starts at nine, so I buy a ticket for the 6 o'clock train, get up at 5 in the morning, go to the station, and there's no train because of la grève. The next train to Metz is at 10. I don't get into Metz until noon Wednesday. C'est la France.
I found myself faced with one of my personal nightmares, walking unnanounced into a room full of strangers. So I took a deep breath and barged in, apologizing profusely in broken French. My grammar is all over the place, but my accent is very good. Henry Higgins is absolutely correct: the French really don't care what you do, so long as you pronounce it correctly.
Luckily you just have to mention la grève and everybody understands. No big deal. I sit down with my face burning because I hate having everybody stare at me like that. The girl next to me leans over and says don't worry, she was late too, I haven't missed much. She's got wavy black hair, a sweet smile. Oh no, I think. Le coup de foudre. Pas encore. Here we go again.
We break for lunch a few minutes later and I go to the train station to double check the schedule for the afternoon. Stop in the tabac in the station and--cue the trumpets--find a copy of La dixiéme muse. Finally. It's pretty decent; not that different from Curve or Girlfriends, but less annoying (well, this issue at least). And it's got a better name (Sappho being the tenth muse). Fairly new; this is only the 15th issue. And it's shelved with the rest of the inane womens magazines, thankfully, and not with Tétu alongside all the sex mags. It feels so good just to have a piece of dyke culture in my hands. Here I'm surrounded by strangers and vague acquaintences and closeted by default; I'm missing my friends and the fledgling queer community I had managed to create over the summer. But at least I can get ahold of La dixiéme muse; it makes me feel less lonesome.
The rest of the afternoon is uneventful. After the training session is over we're all gathering our stuff, getting ready to leave, and I find myself catching the cute girl's eye across the room. Totally unintentional, I swear to god. She glances at me and smiles again and her eyes are so lovely and I actually blush a bit. I make sure I'm next to her as we walk out of the building and we exchange pleasantries but I don't manage to get her name. Maybe I'll see her in November at the next session. I'll be able to pick up the next issue of La dixiéme muse, at any rate.

3 Comments:

At 10:19 AM, Anonymous ursa said...

I am realy enjoying your trip in france, bats, buses,strkes and all.

 
At 5:36 AM, Blogger Andygrrl said...

Aw, thanks! I'm starting to have a good time myself.

 
At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Kevin said...

Go Anne! (with the girl)

I don't care if the French want to be economically incompetent, just as long as they realize why they have 10% unemployment.

 

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