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Trop de Vin, Pas Assez de Fromage

Day 7 of 30 days of writing! We’re approximately 25% done, but still 100% crazy. Today’s theme is excess.

It was July of 2003. Those heady days of post 9/11 paranoia and I’m traveling to Europe via Pittsburgh. My 5 o’clock shadow had worked late, giving my custom’s official cause to give me the “special” which included rapid-fire questioning without the cavity search.

So I answered all of his whowhatwherewhenwhy and hows and I was soon on my way. 7 hours later I’m in Paris.

I settle in to my hotel in La Defense. I pass out. My employer calls me and I meet with them at the office. You can see the Eiffel Tower from the window just like in every movie ever filmed in Paris. I laugh to myself because it seems absurd. Everyone smokes including me. It’s awful to smoke indoors.

I arrange dinner plans with people I’ve never met. Friends of friends. My buddy gave me their number back in Montreal: “When get to Paris, call Arlene and Derek. Good friends of mine.”

The apartment is near Place de la Republique in the 3rd Arrondissment. I find it easily and they buzz me up. My hosts are hospitable and welcome me warmly. While Derek hands me a glass of red, I meet the other guests and we begin to chat and work on a fresh baguette and cheese plate.

About the cheese plate.

I already have a relationship with cheese back home, but these Bries and Camemberts are something else.

I can’t stop.

It’s a merry-go-round: Conversation, baguette, Brie, wine. Conversation, baguette, Camembert, wine.

And then it’s just: Listen, baguette, cheese, wine.

Soon I cease to listen to the conversation at all anymore. It’s just me and the Chevrotin while my glass never seems to get empty.

It goes on for hours and it’s fantastic.

Around 10PM Arlene brings out the roast and we quickly devour it. By 10:15 we’re done and Derek brings out a bottle of Scotch for a nightcap. We all have a shot and considering how much we all drank, no one is drunk. Apparently bread and cheese are very absorbent.

When we finally all say goodnight and I make my way down to the street, the night hits me and I realize that I can’t actually walk. I am drunk after all. And I really can’t walk.

 

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