We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled lusty reading program next week (I have something special in mind) but just for fun (pourquoi pas?) I’m typing up my last handwritten abroad journal entry before I switched to typing them in my now deceased laptop. This chronicles my first exposure what are now commonly known as hipsters, and how innocent I was of the possibility of it spreading to the US 6 years later…
Now is the time to broaden my horizons, make my own opinions about other cultures, and be une étudiant du monde. Unfortunately for the past month I have very carefully deduced that the typical stereotype of a Frenchman from my childhood cartoons is a fact.
I’ve only seen streets populated with very skinny French with fly-away hair, sipping coffee, flicking cigarettes, in tapered, tight jeans, scarf wound around the neck, and for girls usually trailing a fringe (what is so frightening is now i live amongst these people in DC! i had no clue of the impending hipster fashion doom in the US!), plus the ever-present baguette or two poking out of a satchel.
I have not mentioned the most important part of this picture. No French person is complete without their rickety bicycle, circa WWII. It is no joke, the streets of Strasie are molested by bread toting, scarf wearing, thin people ringing their bicycle bells like maniacs while avoiding les petits chiens and their merde. (oh the dog shit, it was EVERYWHERE, they never ever picked it up.)
The bells, upon closer observation in many near run ins with these 40-year-old bikes, are completely unnecessary. Bikes are apparently handed down 3 or 4 generations, and the older and uglier the more desired as they are less likely to be stolen. Therefore the maniacal bells should be obsolete as you can hear the rickety-paint-peeling things bearing down on you from 50 metres away. (oh la la, so fancy with my metric measurements and british spelling!) The clanking of the rusty chain and rattling of the mud guards are a dead giveaway to leap into the cobblestone streets to avoid a sharp jab of semi-stale baguette and a scarf-fringe in the face as the stereotype sails by, solemnly smoking a cigarette.
I ended up getting hit badly once and another time borrowed my 18 year-old host bro’s crappy ancient bike (painted pink because that was the least popular color of stolen bikes) which I broke when my NON tapered jeans got stuck in the rusted chain. Every day was an adventure, let me tell you!
Now I’m off to travel to Mobile, Alabama for the first time for a friend’s wedding. But what I’m secretly most looking forward to on the trip? Reading the next three books in Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series that I bought all at once last week! Have a great weekend, y’all!
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