Friday, 4 November 2011

Good News and Bad News

Bad news and good news.

The Bad News is that this week my friend Anna left Paris, for good. She decided on the spur of the moment to go to Australia for a year, as you do. (Is it 'on' the spur, or 'in' the spur? What is a 'spur'? I'm assuming it's not the same as those metal things cowboys have on the side of their boots...) Ah Anna. You are quite mad but I will miss you. Who else would come out with me on a Friday to see some dubstep music and then not come home until Sunday morning, on a TGV from Lyon, with nothing but the clothes on our backs and an amusing anecdote to share?

(If you don't know what I'm talking about readers, then I don't think I can bring myself to tell you.)

So, another friend leaves Paris. I thought enough people left last year.

But that brings me onto my Good News, because Amy is coming back for a visit in two weeks! Yey! We are probably going to drink cheap wine and eat Chinese food on benches in the street like the good old days of last year!!

Ah, but I have more Bad News. I found out my friend Jen from home, who went to Australia for six months on a work placement, has been offered a permanent job there and is going back in a few weeks. She is going to be there for at least two years and I won't get a chance to see her before she goes. Sad times.

Ok, let me think of some more Good News to cheer myself up... I got paid from my restaurant job this week and I have managed to not spend any of it yet! Well, I've spent thirty euros but those who know my Wiley Ways with money will know that this is very restrained and responsible of me!!

Talking of the 'resto' (if you don't know, this is the short word for 'restaurant' in French and as it's handy for texting I use it quite a lot), my manager asked to have 'a chat' with me yesterday. She said that the last week has gone really well, but before that she wasn't sure if she was going to keep me on because I was so diabolical. She asked me why I thought things were going a lot better suddenly.

"Because the restaurant's been quieter, I suppose." was my honest answer.

It's true- the restaurant hasn't been as crazy recently, so there hasn't been as many things to Fuck Up.

Unfortunately, it seems we spoke too soon, because today it was really busy again and I got all flustered: I put an order through the till wrong; I mixed up some table numbers; and I forgot to 'Follow Suite' which means a couple of tables had to wait for ageessss for their next course... The French Shift Manager was charging around swearing at me and bitching about me to the other staff, which made me loose my focus even more. I've realised that I Fuck Up the worst when I'm working with this particular French Shift Manager, because she just yells random things to me all day and I get very, very confused and also the anger and resentment kind of bubbles up inside me like hot acid, burning away all my common sense and reason...

When we had our 'little chat' yesterday, the manager said that I also need to make myself 'part of the team'. I read between the lines:

"Does everyone think I'm really rude?"

"...No." she said, "They just... they just think you are quite shy. It's horrible being the person at work that no one speaks to and sooner or later everyone will just stop trying."

I tried really hard today to say 'hello' to everyone and to ask them if they were looking forward to the weekend, all that Boring, Personable Crap that I have no interest in because why would I want to chat to people who clearly aren't arsed about chatting to me? I'm not offended, I don't give a shit if they like me or not, but I just resent forcing my false-friendliness onto people who would clearly prefer it if I just wasn't there; I don't know if I'm being paranoid or not, but I get the feeling some of the other staff don't like me very much.

Anyway, I'm making an effort so we'll see. The Danish Girl who I actually thought was quite nice invited everyone to her house-warming party today, everyone apart from me, and it was really awakward because I was part of the conversation and then I had to kind of politely divert my attention elsewhere when she started discussing her party. Why didn't she just wait until after I had gone? Why didn't she invite everyone individually, on the sly?

Oh god. I feel like a really Bad Gimp. I feel like I have a really awful personality and everyone who meets me wishes they hadn't. At first, I comforted myself by thinking 'Well, I've got lots of friends and I know I'm not a Weirdo' but actually, when I think about it, I always make bad impressions: when I started a new Secondary School; when I started Sixth Form College and my friends weren't in any of my classes and we didn't have any of the same Free Periods; even when I started Uni... I don't have any social skills. I have the charisma of a cotton wool pad. Less even, because I'm looking at one right now and there's just something about it, so soft and spherical, I bet it has no problems getting on with my other toiletries. I bet it goes raving with my blusher brush and my tweezers, I bet it has a holiday to Ibiza booked with my eyelash-curlers.

Oh and also in my 'little chat', I discovered that I will only have four days off for Christmas. FOUR DAYS. I was kind of expecting something like this, but I assumed I would quit if it came down to it. However, I really need the money. If I keep this job up all year I could pay off my credit card and pay off my overdraft and I can move to London debt-free. (Let's not mention the £18,000 Student Loan, please.)

Four days for Christmas though? Father Christmas better bring me something really good. And speaking of Santa, baby, the girls taped their Christmas Wish Lists to their bedroom door last night. The eleven year old wants a Longchamp bag and a pair of Ugg boots (she already has a grey pair and a beige pair) and the eight year old wants her own bedroom and a Blackberry. I was planning on getting them bath bombs from Lush, so... let's see how well that goes down.

Tonight, when I was washing the eight year old's hair in the bath, she took a good, long look at my face.

"Why you have something here, here, here and here?"

She was pointing at mosquito bites on my face. YES on my face. They are not only on my face, they are also all over my neck, my chest and my shoulders. I look like a Diseased Girl. The worst thing is, I'm pretty sure it's only one mosquito who has been hiding in my room for three days. I can't find him anywhere but then I keep waking up, half-asleep, to a buzz buzzzzzz sound in my ear. The scariest thing is I'm pretty sure mosquitos don't buzz, so I could be harbouring some sort of exotic, buzzing, biting insect that is super dangerous and hard to get rid of.

I tried to explain this to the little girl, but she didn't really get it. To change the subject, I took my hair out of the bobble and showed her how curly my hair was. She loves it. I really think I am onto something with this curly hair thing. French girls seem to really admire curly hair for some reason. She was cooing and going 'So nice! So good! You do this to your hair all the time, ok?"

As I put it back into a ponytail, she glanced at my armpits and I know this is probably Too Much Information, but I may or may not have neglected them for a couple of days. I put my arms down quicly but it was too late. She smirked.

"You no have boyfriend?"

'Here we go,' I thought, 'This will be just like last year, when the eight year old kept asking me why nobody loved me until I was nearly in tears.'

"No." I said.
"I don't want one."
"You don't want one?!" she looked amazed.
"I'm busy. I have a lot of friends... I'm very busy."
"What's 'busy'?"
"It means I have lots of things to do."
"So? You don't want boyfriend?"
"I don't have time, I'm busy."

No matter how much I tried to justify myself, I could tell she wasn't impressed by my answer.

"Maybe you dirty. You dirty so you don't have boyfriend!"

The scary thing is, I think she's right.

So. The Good News is... Amy is coming in two weeks.

The Bad News is... i'm dirty, everybody at the restaurant hates me, two of my friends are moving to Australia, I can only have four days off for Christmas and there is a small, flying monster hiding somewhere in my room...

Oh and I'm working my au pair job again tomorrow. Instead of 'one Saturday every two months', it's worked out more like 'one Saturday every two weeks'.


  1. I'd say the obvious solution is to move to Ozzie and enjoy the sunshine and laid-back lifestyle for a while. Except there's plenty of mozzies and a lot worse things to bite you there, ha ha. (And btw, mozzies do buzz when they are after your blood.)

    Hey - there's nothing wrong with your personality - you are just not dull enough for them i.e. too smart and funny for them to cope with. All the best people make lousy waitresses!


  2. Thank you for the pep talk, I like what you said about the best people making lousy waitresses!

    And as for Ozzie, my only qualm with visiting Australia is exactly what you said- the nasty bugs and other scary creatures that lurk about there...

  3. WHAT IS WITH PARIS AND MOSQUITOS????? Ok, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic but yeah, I moved to Paris 4 weeks ago and I am covered head to toe in mosquito bites. So is every other au-pair I know. But not French people. The mosquitos only like foreigners.

  4. "I have the charisma of a cotton wool pad. Less even, because I'm looking at one right now and there's just something about it, so soft and spherical, I bet it has no problems getting on with my other toiletries. I bet it goes raving with my blusher brush and my tweezers, I bet it has a holiday to Ibiza booked with my eyelash-curlers."

    I love the tone of your story-telling voice and your blog is so great. You are definitely talented.

    I feel you on the mosquito bites. I'm allergic to them and each bite swells up like a golfball. If I get any on my face I feel like the elephant man.

    Also, I wish I had curly hair.

  5. okay i do not know you at all and i hope i don't seem like a Sad Gimp for commenting on a stranger's blog, but i've been reading through yours recently and it is seriously the funniest, ost entertaining blog i have ever read. you should really try and publish a book or something because you are totally hilarious. i have laughed out loud enough times reading your posts to look totally insane, so eff your coworkers if they don't like you. become a famous expat author and show them!

  6. Don't worry, my flatmates once didn't invite me to a party in my own home. Talk about awkward... :/

  7. Oh my God! Thank you so much for commenting everyone, I am smiling to myself in a very smug way because of all the compliments. Ha ha. I may re-read them again...

    Mouse, it is very true that French people don't seem to get mosquito bites, why is that??? I can't believe the mossies haven't effed off yet, surely it is too cold for them??

    Crystal- I feel for you. Nobody wants to look like the Elephant Man, not even curly hair would help you if you got golf-ball sized lumps all over your face...

    Mark- Merci bien.

    Anonymous- don't feel like a Sad Gimp, thanks so much commenting, ooh imagine how good it would be if I managed to make a book out of this? I doubt it, somehow, but it's nice to dream.

    And Gwan, what can say? That is my worst nightmare. Oh God, did you hide in your room crying???

  8. Because the mosquitoes are also French so they're united in trying to drive us out because we get drunk/don't speak the language.
    And they don't get cold because they wear berets and sensible boots.

  9. Ah yes, I have seen their little boots and berets. Also polonecks.

  10. No, I got drunk in my room by myself and then when it came to an hour where normal people go out (like 9 or 10 or something, I think they started their little party at 7 or whatever), I went out with some friends. Fecking hated Flatmate 1. Flatmate 2 was okay, but just hung out with Flatmate 1 constantly, so that was no good to me...

  11. At least you got to go out with your normal friends and look cool! I keep having little fantasies were everyone at work sees me on a night out, and they are having a shit time and I look really glamarous and cool, but I realise how vain and stupid this is. Also I don't know how to spell glamarous...

  12. Ugh, comment submit fail, take 2.

    I agree with Write-a-Book anon! I've laughed so many times from this blog! My favourite of this post has to be the socially adept cotton wool lol.
    So are you working a resto job and being an au pair at the same time? You must have hardly any free time! And working on Saturdays sucks.

    Maybe with OpenID I'll get notifications this time!


  13. Yeah I am a lot busier, but I guess it's like having a full-time job, like normal people, except I don't start work until half eleven and I usually get a little time window late afternoon.

    I hope you do get comment notification, tI wish I could figure out how to set it up! I thought you were some sort of computer genius, can't you work it out for me? Jokes...

  14. Pfft, but we're not normal people, we're awesome people. We shouldn't have fulllll time jobs. They're rubbish.
    You don't have to take the kids to school either? That's great. I think that's what my au pair friends are most jealous of. That and the fact I get paid over holidays (which I think is French law in fact...?)

    OpenID didn't notify me. It seems the only way is to use a Google Account and click Notification via Email or something (which I'll try now). The other methods (such as OpenID/Wordpress/etc.) just use the account to verify you're not a bot. They don't actually pull the email address from that account to use (which seems a little silly to me). And obviously, by virtue of the fact that it's anonymous, the anonymous comments have no email address to use. Perhaps you can disable the other commenting options and force use of a Google Account only. You'd have to weigh up the balance between increased re-commenting via notifications and decreased commenting due to lack of options.

    Another option is to transfer your Blogger blog to Wordpress as Wordpress is awesome and it has a better (imo) plugin and commenting system:
    Last thing you might want to try is to strike a happy medium between doing nothing and full-blown Wordpress transition by endeavouring to get Disqus working: Disqus is the commenting system that looks like this:

    Hope that helps :)

  15. Wow, I have no idea what you are talking about, but thanks for the advice! No I don't take the kids to school, I could never have been an au pair for so long if I had to get up early every weekday!

  16. I get that a lot :/

    Tell me about it! Blargh, the father's away in USA this week, meaning I have to get up at 7.30 (oh God) tomorrow to take the youngest to school.

    Btw, do you want to meet at Sugarplum (near Cardinal Lemoine) for a coffee tomorrow? It would be awesome to meet you!

  17. Ah I only just checked my comments, sorry! I'm rrreally busy at the moment, and I have two friends here this week, maybe in a few weeks when things are less hectic! :)