Last night was probably the most horrible slumber I have ever experienced in my entire life. It was as if there were a loudspeaker pressed against each of my ears and it was turned up to full volume, but there was no speaker, it was only my head. Eartha Kitt songs were screaming inside my skull in a way I have never experienced, and it drove me crazy.
Each time I started to lose consciousness, I’d hear, “TAKE VITAMINS A, B, C, D, E, AND G FOR LUNCH….BRUNCH!” or, “I WANT TO BE EVIL…LITTLE OLD EVIL ME…” or worst of all, “IF I LOVE YA, THEN I NEED YA, IF I NEED YA, THEN I WANTCHA AROUND!” Of course, Eartha’s legendary voice wasn’t the only thing playing, it was also the music, trombones, flutes, marimbas, piano solos, I felt like I was going insane.
I was so tired, but I couldn’t sleep. I haven’t had insomnia in years, I don’t want it to come back all of a sudden now. I have no time for this nonsense. Somehow, and I don’t know how, after 2:30am, I fell off into blissful unconsciousness, only to listen to the buzzer scream at 6:00am. The second my eyes fluttered open, Eartha came back into my head. It was completely in my subconscious, and I began to worry for my sanity.
Realizing how exhausted I was, I slept for another hour and then got up. I had decided to skip class and sleep today, but my fiscal guilt forced me out the door even though I was fatigued, queasy, and achy. I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything, so I just looked at myself in the mirror, and then headed off for the train. I put a hat on to hide my hideousness.
The journey to school passed quickly enough with my new book, I say new, but the book is nine years older than I am. It’s called Swanson On Swanson and it is a massive tome, Gloria Swanson’s autobiography. I was immediately jealous of her writing style after working on my own autobiography. It was very much…her…I hope that I can do something along the lines of that.
Before long, I was at the train stop, wading through the two tireless beggars that plague my journey every morning, afternoon, and evening, demanding that they have a few coins. They don’t even try to build my sympathy with a mangy mutt or an emaciated feline. Nope, just stocking caps and whisky bottles, which, while I find amusing, it’s not a habit I’m inclined to support.
As I walked up to the school, avoiding the massive piles of dog crap that plague the little road (more so than any other street in Paris), I heard birds chirping and it was lovely. It looked as if it were going to be a nice day, that gave me hope that maybe school would not be as bad as I had felt it was going to be due to my extreme exhaustion. I couldn’t imagine being a full time student — taking both cuisine and pastry, they have to come every day and almost every day at 8:30am. That’s too much for me to even ponder.
I stuffed myself into the little locker room that conforms to no fire regulations or health codes and somehow managed to pull my uniform on as at least twenty-five other guys tried to do so at the same time in a room that is the same size as my bedroom. Basically, it was an impossible feat. So, I kind of fell out of the room still tying on my apron without any shoes on.
I made my way up to the kitchen and was delighted to see that we had Chef Danielle today. He is my absolute favorite, and he’s not even a full-time employee, he’s like a substitute Chef, but he is the best one there is. He is so nice and calm and patient and friendly — and explains to you what is happening and why something happened.
My chocolate cake batter was fantastic, a lot of people overbeat theirs, so it was more like a syrup, which was not good. Unfortunately, my group took our cakes out too early and didn’t realize they still had a gooey center, well at least 3 out of 4. Mine was still fantastic, so, it must have had something to do with the batter. We had to melt chocolate then, which was more fun, especially when you make a mess, because then you can pretend you are Julia Child (which we all do without saying so) and lick the delightful liquid off of your finger and claim that it was an accident, when it wasn’t.
We made chocolate mousse, which for some reason, had been elevated to the realms of impossibility…it was as if the mousse was some unattainable goal, like, I don’t know, something hard to do, like a souffle, but I don’t know if that is hard, but it has that same stigma around it. “It won’t work, probably,” is what Chef had told us a few days ago at the demo. Well, none of us had any problems whatsoever, which was quite a letdown, I wanted to watch somebody fail miserably. I think, I can’t say for sure, but we all take a particular delight in the failure of others because we can feel superior, even if we aren’t. There is a lot of subconscious stuff going on in pastry, believe you me.
My decoration on top was so painfully pathetic that I’m not going to post a picture of it. I forgot to freeze the raspberry-seed jam, so, the mousse just slid right off, it wasn’t hideous, but it wasn’t pretty. Chef Danielle said that the presentation was very nice, aside from that little line that is the thing nightmares are made of. I asked a bunch of questions to cover the fact that it wasn’t too pretty, and I think it might have worked, he winked at me in the end — whatever that means.
At right about noon, it was time to go home. I walked with Jongin and Juralack to the Metro. We all had to go home and study, and none of us were very happy about it. When I was alone again, I realized how odd it was to have a full fledged conversation in French…I then felt tremendously interesting as I rode home, reading about Gloria surviving a hurricane in the Florida Keys.
Before I went into the apartment, I decided to hop and skip down to Shopi to pick up a few things so I wouldn’t have to go back out later. I happily grabbed some butter, chicken, and garlic, swiped my credit card and it told me something it had never told me before: PAIMENT REFUSE. “What?” I said with irritation. I had money, I checked it before I left this morning, so, I swiped it again. Same thing. I didn’t have cash and I was so pissed that I just turned around and marched back to my apartment and telephone, to rudely awaken mother and explain the embarrassing tragedy that had just befell me.
Turns out that I had a bunch of post authorizations go through. You see, in France, it is super easy to use an American debit or credit card, but you have to remember your balance at all times. Each time you go shopping, you are charged twice, for the same amount, at different times. The pre authorization stays on for two or three days, and then you get that money back. It is a terribly annoying system, but it has never drained my resources so completely.
I was so irritated that I took a nap, but couldn’t even do that, Eartha came back. I will lose my mind, I must stress that, if the relentless classics won’t cease their repetition.
When I came out of my half-doze, I saw that Ma had put some money in my account, so I went back down the street, hid my face in shame, and paid.
After my early dinner, I spent an hour or so cleaning up the apartment, because there was somebody coming to have a look at it to see if they wanted to rent it after me for their parents. The apartment looked very nice, and I realized as I dusted my lucky cats and straightened my books that it was going to be Hell to get all this stuff back home, but then I felt sad, because I like my apartment. We went through months of trouble to get this place, and it’s already coming to a close. Even, if in the end, I don’t particularly miss city life, unlike the lady in Green Acres, I will definitely miss my little home when I go back to my big, haunted, farmhouse.
Very soon after, there came a knock at the door and three people were looking at me, they were all very polite and thanked me a million times for letting them bother me. They were a married couple, she from Australia, he from Britain, and they lived here in Paris. His parents were coming to Paris for a month and wanted an apartment to rent. As the rather annoying husband busied himself snooping around my belongings, the wife talked to me about the apartment and some of it’s features, then eventually of Melbourne, Australia, where she comes from, and where I want to go. I just want to rent a home in a gated community and go to Target and then Fountain Gate Mall, followed by a relaxing afternoon at the beach. Yes, I basically want to reenact Kath & Kim, the good version, not the mediocre American flop. Australia is definitely my next dream destination. Then we talked about Dawn French, she had seen the autobiography I have of her. When her husband had finished examining the door handles, they went on a little tour where I demonstrated the appliances, wowing everyone with my magical microwave/oven/grill box thing. For some reason, the couch bed enthralled them.
I realized then that I should be a real estate agent, or at least a flipper. What’s more fun than buying dumpy apartments and houses, cheaply fixing them up, and then selling them at five times the purchase price? Nothing. I had good fun explaining why they would be happy here and how accommodating the agency was. Bonapart should have hired me on the spot.
I studied some more. I’m getting tired of flashcards and recipes, but it’s almost over! I think I’m going to watch The Emperor’s New Groove tonight as a reward for waking up. I don’t have to be in class until 12:30pm tomorrow, thank God.