“My daddy says George Bush is going to be the new governor of Texas.”
“You mean, George W. Bush? Presidents don’t become governors.”
It was 1994. I was traveling all over Europe with a blonde Texas beauty queen. After not being served at a Parisian restaurant because we were Americans, I was dejected. Jen’s French was not any better than mine, yet she had the tougher, and magically more mostuirized skin. I wept by the Seine.
“Milla, snap out of it!”
The longhorn drawl worked; I had to laugh. I decided to ignore the fact that everything was closed on All Saints Day, Nov. 1 and push forward. We looked for a friendly Canadian and asked for directions.
I leave for Paris to study propaganda and journalism (yes!) in a week, after a wonderful stop to visit a friend and her family in London. It is my first time abroad since that comical trip with my Texan friend. I hear Americans are treated better these days, although I’m not sure we deserve it. I have cultural guilt. Of course, we are a baby country; our mistakes are young. Come to think of it, having a teenager run the so-called free world is a bit alarming. Someone teach me how to say that in French.
I’ve been told when it comes to my research I have more of a French writing style. I don’t like “mapping” up front, or telling my reader where I am going to take them. Crediting the French sounds better than the truth. I don’t know where I’m going to go when I start; I get lost in cities and on paper. I find it tedious to go back to the intro after I’ve finished and hold hands with people. I suspect that professors and readers simply do not want to read 15 pages on the lacunae of life in a Foucault world as evidenced by De Certeau, and my wanderings around NYC. If I provide a map, one does not need to read the whole thing. Pbbbbttttt! I snicker in your general direction.
So I’m looking forward to getting lost again in Paris, and detecting Canadian flag patches on backpacks from far away. I’ve been dutifully learning French phrases, contorting my face to produce alien sounds. I told my sister I was very well in French (She’s fluent.), and she did that half laugh, half choke thing. Perhaps I will stick with “sava” or even “mal” to get sympathy votes. Only then they might ask me what is wrong, and I’d have to tell them, in English, that I don’t like maps.