The LongIslander has landed. She is here for a week and things have already gotten crazy.
Not really. But we did have a wonderful time last night; the first time in a long while where I've allowed myself to just suck it up and spend some money even though my inner voice was saying "Restraint! Restraint!" with a German accent and a ruler in hand.
But we had a good time, so no regrets.
The evening began at the bookstore, where we collectively downed two bottles of wine without any trouble at all. There were six of us, so it didn't take long. Afterwards, we went out to dinner (three of us) and had another bottle, but I was curiously far less tipsy post-meal than pre-meal. I almost felt as if I had not had anything to drink at all.
Afterwards, we went to a bar where we got goofy. MopHead showed up, and the four of us played darts until five am. Darts are FUN. Where have they been in my life all this while? My brother-in-law is apparently quite good at them (plays in a LEAGUE, my friends). I should have tried playing far earlier. It's amazing how well they kept us entertained. Next up? Bowling. I'm so not kidding about this. I've always loved bowling (maybe the Midwest just does that to people) but I have had a hard time convincing The Boy to go. After our evening of darts, the entire quartet thinks bowling should be our next priority.
All in all, a great night out on the town. Nobody got obnoxiously drunk or stupid, or annoying. For the most part, people left us alone and didn't give us any trouble. We were mellow, but giggly, and it was a fun time overall.
One of the highlights of my evening, however, was sitting in the metro at 5.15.
According to the arrival board, I still had another sixteen minutes. I sat down and listened to some more comedy, and chuckled a little to myself for awhile. At the same time, I watched a group of three friends - two on the other side of the tracks and one on my side - joke with one another and generally have a good time. One of them was obviously the actor of the crew, and he kept hamming it up while doing quasi-breakdance moves and so on. They were cute in the way that three guy friends who are just being dorks together can be cute.
Eventually, the guy on my side of the tracks came over to talk to me, and I was more receptive to conversing with him than I usually am. Could have been a mixture of fatigue and remaining drunkenness, even though I was not really drunk at that point. But we talked, and he ended up being extremely nice - he's studied linguistics and stuff, he also does programming, blah blah blah. Our conversation was actually ENJOYABLE, and at no point did I get any slimy picking-up-on-me vibes. He was Maroccan, and very shy, but clearly quite intelligent. He spoke to me with the ease that it seems that only the non-French have in Paris.
We talked for ten minutes or so and then the train came, so we rode together until my stop. When I got up to leave, he said, "Well, this is your stop. It's been great talking to you. Really. You're one of the few strangers I've met who has just been pleasant to have a conversation with -- maybe that's because you're open minded and doing great things with your life. Don't forget that: you're really doing some great things with your life. I admire that. Have a good night..."
First off - the delivery of this comment was sincere and reflected, and it was obvious to me that he understood our encounter was not going to lead to obtaining a phone number or anything. Secondly, what a nice thing to say! I was really touched, and it just made me happy. Sometimes interactions with strangers can be really great. It seems that Parisians just don't interact with strangers, but in lots of other cultures it's totally normal. Maybe I shouldn't be so wary of people I don't know. They're not always bad.