L’Observateur : Around the Office

Glenn called. I was to meet a prospective buyer in front of an apartment building three blocks away. I stopped in for a double espresso and a pain au chocolate anyway, and still beat the guy there by five minutes. He was a small Asian man of about 45, and I would have bet he was Japanese. I showed him the apartment, he asked me some questions in broken English that I didn’t have the answers to, and then I showed him out. Turned out, we were both headed in the same direction, so we strolled together:

Me: (saying everything very slowly) So … you are Japanese?
Him: Cambodge.
Me: Oh, Cambodian … Sorry about that … I would have bet you were Japanese.
(awkward silence)
Me: You go to Cambodia often?
Him: No. Unstaber … (apologetic) My Engrish bad.
Me: Unstable?
Him: (nodding yes)
Me: You’re a political refugee? … From Pol Pot’s … people? …
(and, as the words were alliteratively trickling off my tongue, I realized that the only people for whom Cambodia is currently unstable are probably the former Khmer Rouge themselves)
Him: (abruptly turning into the next available door) Thank you! Goodbye!

On the way back to the office, I saw a 9th or 10th-grade class walking down St. Honore on a field trip. No less than three of the students were smoking cigarettes while walking astride with their teacher. That’s not how things went down at Norman High School.

Then, walking into the courtyard of the office, I saw a twenty-something girl wearing a weird mask come out of the beauty school next door. It looked as though her mask was made out of yarn and I wondered if it was a newfangled Parisian fashion trend. This thing was weird looking. Intrigued, I stared at her long enough to realize that what was hanging off her face was in fact loose skin. I don’t know if she had been badly burned or had a strange disease, but his poor girl looked as if her face was dripping off her skull. Oddly, the flesh wasn’t red or discolored. It was flesh colored.

After checking out the cleaning lady’s handiwork over at the apartment on Vieille du Temple, I smelled hashish wafting out of a second floor window down onto the street as I was taking a photo of some dog shit.

I rode the Paris Metro bus for the first and second time today. It’s nice not having to go up and down all those stairs at the Metro station. And looking out the windows of the bus is nice. It’s the next-best thing to riding a bike or walking.

In the last seven months I have gone from rung three to rung six on my belt. I weigh about 93 kilos fully clothed.

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