First of all, let me say Thank You Very Much to everyone who has left me lovely comments recently, I have replied to all of them (I think).
Second of all, I have a message for the person who keeps finding my blog by Googling 'magic strippers':
I'm sorry to inform you that you're looking in the wrong place and actually, I'm not sure there are any magic strippers, anywhere in the (this) world. Why do you need 'magic' strippers anyway? Isn't it enough for you that a woman is willing to remove all of her underwear in front of you and dance around a pole for your entertainment? Now she has to possess some sort of magical power as well? What did you have in mind, exactly? Dark hair, double Ds and the ability to levitate? You make me SICK.
Incidentally, how much were you looking to pay? As regular readers will know, I have, at one time or another, thought very seriously about entering the Stripper Profession, and for... let's say... oh, I don't know, about two grand, I could definitely learn some card tricks.
I have two Rather Unpleasant Things to tell you about, and one Marvelous Thing. Let's get the Rather Unpleasant Things over and done with first, shall we?
Ok, so every Wednesday I have to hang around for an hour while the eight year has her ballet class. Her ballet school is, for some reason, on the périphérique which as anyone who has ever lived in Paris will know, usually means the area is a Shit Hole to be avoided at all costs. Normally I buy myself a packet of Haribo gummy bears, find a bench on a quiet street and read my book for an hour. But last week it was too cold to sit outside and I didn't have enough money to order a coffee in any of the decent-looking brasseries, so I went into the nearest McDonald's.
I got a tea and sat down at a quiet table. It was the week when Amy was staying at mine and I'd been too busy to do my blog, so I decided I'd try and write a post on my Blackberry. I'd been typing for about five minutes when I noticed a scruffy-looking boy staring at my phone. I wasn't being paranoid, he was defintely staring at my phone and he looking all fidgety and suspicious. The boy looked about fourteen and seemed to be sat with his mum, a tiny lady with an unfortunate hunchback. When they'd come in they'd been arguing with an old man about something and I assumed it was someone they knew, but now I was beginning to think they'd just randomly picked an argument with him.
I put my phone in my pocket quickly, but I wasn't too bothered because I knew I'd be sat there for a whole hour and I doubted the boy would want to wait that long just to steal a scratched Blackberry Curve.
I read my book and forgot all about the boy and his mum, if she was his mum. But then I heard them arguing heatedly with someone else...
First rule of living in a big city- Don't Stare, even if the person next to you has two heads and glittery pink fire curling out of their noses. Weirdly, Parisiens don't heed this rule. It can be the most infuriating thing in the world when you're at the receiving end of it (everyone on the metro STARING at you for example, because it's only April and you thought it would be ok to go out without tights on); but on the flip side, it means you can sometimes get away with staring unashamedly at people who are wearing/doing something unusual, because chances are everyone around you will be having a good gander as well.
Still, I tried to keep my eyes on my book for as long as possible, because growing up in a big British city teaches you to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. As the arguement got more and more heated, curiosity got the better of me and I glanced up quickly, to see that the boy and his tiny mother were arguing with a
man on crutches. I couldn't understand most of what they were saying, but the general gist seemed to be that the man on crutches had caught the boy stealing his phone and the boy was saying it was his phone that his dad had got him for his brithday, and his scratty mum was backing him up. The woman and the boy were screaming into the man's face and a McDonald's staff member was stood in the middle of them, asking them to leave.
All of a sudden, the boy and the mum jumped on the man. I couldn't tell what was going on because there were arms and legs flying everywhere, but suddenly I noticed that the man on crutches had shockingly bright red blood all over his face. The McDonald's worker was trying to intervene but the mum and the boy were landing punches over his head.
Everyone was just staring, horrified, but nobody intervened. I put my book away and stayed in my seat, not really knowing what to do, unable to look away. The fight was taking place in front of the door, so there was no way anyone could leave. We were trapped in there, forced to watch the fight unfold, forced to make the decision whether to help or not.
The boy grabbed one of the man's crutches and tried to hit him across the face with it. I knew then that I should get up and help... Let's be honest here, I'm rubbish in fights- I doubt I could overpower a gerbil, but an injured man, being battered with his own crutch? By two people? Plus, the boy was little older than a child and his mum was a tiny, ill-looking thing...
But the damage they were doing to this poor guy! They were fucking vicious. I hovered nervously in my seat, not knowing if it was sensible not getting involved, or if I was being a cold, passive observer.
Somehow, the man on crutches suddenly had the mum by the ankles. He was dangling her upside down and she was thrashing around like a fish, trying to twist out of his grip and screaming Blue Murder. Another McDonald's co-worker jumped in at this point and grabbed the boy, who by now also had a face full of blood.
Oh God, would you have jumped in? Is Karma coming to get me? (The answer I'm looking for is 'NO! You did the right thing, just like you always do, you very ethical girl of sound morals and reason.')
The boy and his mum were dragged off into the office to wait for the police and the man on crutches was escorted into the toilets to clean up. As soon as they'd moved away from the door, I darted outside. I spent the rest of the hour sat outside the ballet classroom door.
So. That was kind of unpleasant, but two days later something happened that was a thousand times worse...(Although I guess the man on crutches wouldn't agree.)
Let me set the scene: I'm at my au pair job. I'm running between the bedroom, where the eight year old wants me to watch her practicing her piano and the kitchen, where I'm trying to keep an eye on the dinner. The baby is in his high chair near the kitchen door and the dad is bending down to feed him. He's blocking the doorway, so I say 'excuse me', three times, but he doesn't seem to hear me even though I'm stood an inch away from him.
I need to get to the pasta. Also, I remember that when the dad gave me a 'talking to' a few weeks ago, he said that I 'move around the house like a shadow'. So instead of skulking off and returning when he's finished feeding the baby, I decide to assert myself. I need to get past him, so I'll just squeeze past, like a Normal Person would.
But I have misjudged the space between Wall and Au Pair Dad's Bum. I don't realise until it is too late. I am struck with horror as I find myself scraping my lower body against the back of his lower body. I can't stop midway and I can't go back... there is nothing for it but to see the thing through and so I close my eyes in painful embarrassment as I slide, no grind, past him, in a Silent and Sinister manner.
Oh Fucking HELL.
Why did I squeeze past? WHY? Why didn't I just wait? Why didn't I say 'excuse me' one more time?
I faffed about with the pasta as if nothing remotely strange or inappropriate had happened. The dad didn't say anything and half an hour later I had almost forgotten about it. I tried to convince myself that I had blown the whole thing out of proportion, that maybe the dad hadn't even noticed me squeezing past him...
Later on, I saw the mum and dad huddled together in the dining room, when they thought I was in the eight year old's bedroom. I'd nipped into the living room to get her pencil case and I heard the parents whispering. The living room is separated from the dining room by a staircase, and through the banisters I could see the dad bending over, miming turning around and being surprised. He was clearly renacting the whole thing to the mum, who was pissing herself.
Oh, the shame, the shame.
I wanted to die.
It is one of those things that cannot be undone and it cannot be rectified. If I try and say something to the dad about it, no doubt it will look even weirder. Julia suggested I do the same thing to the mum just so they think I do it to everyone and was not trying to come on to the dad in a sinister The Hand That Rocks The Cradle kind of way, but I think my hips have been rubbed against enough employers for the moment. There is nothing to be done except close my eyes and sing very loudly whenever the incident pops into my head, as if my tuneless voice alone will scare away the memory forever.
So there you have it, two Rather Unpleasant Things that have happened to me lately. Now I don't have time to tell you about the Marvellous Thing, as I have to go to my au pair job. I've felt really awkward ever since. The eight year old is obssessed with 'Someone Like You' by Adele and for some reason she has the instrumental recorded on her keyboard, so I basically have to sing it with her constantly, whenever I am in the house. No doubt the mum and dad will think I am a Mental who is trying to seduce them with my singing voice and by rubbing against them in the kitchen.
What is wrong with me??