Out on the Town (SIX)

I slept a little better last night, and I got up around 10 to do a little work. Sheila and I had breakfast at 11, then met up with Kyle for lunch around one. Our usual Chinese place was closed as of today until the first of the year, which was a big bummer, but we went to one a little further up the street that was the same price, and tasted just as good. After that, we walked over to a church by Kyle’s house in Neuilly-Sur-Seine that had a small marché-de-Noël so we could take a look, then we parted ways and went back to our respective houses. The plan was to meet up at Pancake Square for dinner, then “party hard” since this was our last Saturday night in Paris. Sheila and Joan wanted to take us to a place they’d found over the Thanksgiving weekend that had really cheap drinks, and we thought about going back to Bulls Brother’s as well. When Sheila and I got back to our place, we both took naps, and I watched some Big Bang Theory and did some apartment browsing online. I figure now’s a good time to get a jump on the whole apartment-search. I know I want to use a broker and not something as simple as a “FOR RENT” sign on the lawn this time, since that got me into a world of trouble with the place I lived in last year… After I sent a few emails to some brokers inquiring about a few properties with the amount of rooms we wanted that were in our price range, I did a little work arranging the photos I’d taken of all of the mannequins around Paris to print out for my theatre project on Tuesday…

Madame and her youngest daughter came home from the civil wedding of the middle daughter around 6:30, and asked what we were going to do for dinner, so I told her the plan. Sheila and I met up with Suzannah at Pancake Square at eight, after Sheila had gone to Carrefour to get a bottle of Beaujolais before the shop closed. Kyle was running a little late meeting us for dinner, and we found out that he wasn’t going to be able to continue on with our “faire la fête” for the night because his host family was having a game night, and they’d asked him to participate. I had a salad, and since this was my last weekend in Paris, and I figured I’d celebrate my 21st birthday a little early while I was here, I ordered a Kir (a white wine based cocktail with crême de cassis added to it). All of us discussed the tragedy of the school shooting in Connecticut in depth over our meal. I’ve managed to decide that I don’t really want to live in America since things like this keep happening. After doing some serious reading up on what happened, and some statistics of massacres like this, I’ve come to realize that while these occurrences are in fact “rare,” compared to the rest of the world, they are “common” in America. We’ve somehow created an environment in “our country” that make things like this possible, and they aren’t possible in places like… France, for example. In all honesty, I feel safer in Paris than I do in my college town back in America. I do some things here that I wouldn’t chance doing back home, like walk home from a bus or metro stop alone at three in the morning. In America, that’s asking for trouble. Here… I’m not worried about being hurt. I digress…

Suzannah had a headache, so she went with Sheila and I to the metro, and was with us for a few stops. Joan had gotten a hold of us, and told us to meet her at our friend Rucy’s metro stop. The plan was to drink at Rucy’s place with her, Yasmina and Alice (two girls from Amherst, they’re both super nice) who were already there, and Max (a Johns Hopkins student who composes his own music) and Denzel were on their way, and we could go to Bulls Brother’s in the Latin Quarter if we wanted to afterward. I am such a lightweight… that single Kir I had at dinner had me decently… amusing. The buzz wore off on the 40 minute metro ride it took to get to Rucy’s, but I made up for it. Max and Denzel weren’t too far behind us, and they came prepared. We had Sheila’s bottle of Beaujolais, and the guys had brought three bottles of wine (two rosé, one white), a liter of Pepsi, a handle of vodka, and one of rum. I’ve learned my lesson, so I stuck to the wine for the night. We played King’s Cup with the group, which got to be very funny by the time we had a no cursing, no coughing, sneezing, burping, or passing gas set of rules in effect. There was one instance in the game that was incredibly amusing to me, but it requires a little backstory. I’d mentioned when Max was pulling all of the wine out of his bag that I was “celebrating my 21st birthday early” so he asked me if I wanted to “tag team” drinking with him, and I wasn’t sure what that meant (it supposedly meant that I was supposed to take turns drinking whatever he was drinking with him). Since he’d said that, when I drew the first eight for our game of King’s Cup (and since he was sitting next to me), I chose him as my mate for the game. Fast forward a little bit, Alice created the “no cursing” rule, and Max created the “no coughing, sneezing, burping, or passing gas” rule. Max draws a queen, and starts a round of questions… by immediately turning to me and saying “WHY DID YOU PICK ME?!” which makes me crack up, so I lost the round… and then I coughed twice… and then Max cursed twice… so we both had to take five drinks… La vache… By the time we ended the game and decided we would head out to the Latin Quarter to try to go to a bar and go dancing, it was a little bit past midnight, and all of us (except for Max, because he’s freaking Superman, and you’d actually need Kryptonite to get him tipsy) were decently pompette. Rucy and Alice had some great Asian glow going on, Sheila was cursing like a trucker, Joan was dancing to music playing in her head, Yasmina couldn’t stop telling me how drunk I was, which was hilarious because I thought I was holding myself together pretty well… I’ll put it this way, it was obvious we were not French. Alice headed home instead of heading off with us.

We get to the metro, and no one knows where we’re supposed to go, except for me. The metro stop that Rucy lives at is a little bizarre. We had to ride the metro to the end of the line (two stops from where Rucy lives), then it turned around and went the other direction, but we didn’t know that/weren’t sober enough to grasp that concept, so we got off of the train, then got right back onto it… While everyone was chatting loudly (I felt so sorry for the poor guy that was sitting across from our rowdy group), I kept an eye on the stops we passed, and the map over the door of our metro car. Once we needed to get off of the metro, I told everyone to get out of the train, and head out onto the streets. Between our clouded memories, Joan and I managed to get our group to Bulls Brother’s, but because it was already past one in the morning (and we had seven people in our group), they weren’t going to let us in. There was a bit of a communication break down immediately following that moment, since Rucy, Sheila, and Joan took off ahead of the rest of us, and I started to follow them, but Max, Denzel, and Yasmina saw the bouncer let five other people into the bar despite the fact that he’d just turned us away. By the time I convinced that smaller group to follow me and catch up with Joan, Sheila, and Rucy, we’d lost them. Yasmina and I really needed to go to the bathroom, so we hatched a plan to stop by a restaurant and make it sound like we wanted to eat there so they’d seat us, then one of us would go find the bathroom while the other looked at the menu, then we’d swap spots, so that’s what we did. By the time we got out of the restaurant after we’d done that, Max and Denzel weren’t outside waiting for us anymore. Thankfully, my phone went off. It was Joan. The whole group was outside of Bulls Brother’s again, and Sheila was a little worse for wear, so it’s best that I take her home. I said my goodbyes, took Sheila by the arm, and we headed off to the nearest metro.

I knew ligne 1 was going to have shut down by now (this has happened to me twice already, I’ve learned by now) since it was already 1:30, so our best bet was going to be taking ligne 4 to Reaumur-Sebastopol to try to see if ligne 3 was still running to get us home, so that’s what we did. The second we stepped off of the the metro and started walking toward the ligne 3 Levallois platform… the announcement came over the loudspeakers that we’d just missed the last train for that direction. Merde! We walked to the platform anyway so I could sit Sheila down and find a plan de quartier (area map) and figure out where the nearest nocturnal bus for either N11 or N16 was. Just our luck… despite the fact that this metro services a train headed in those directions, there are no buses headed that way. Things just got that much more difficult. Our best bet was going to be to walk to any nocturnal bus line, get on, and head to Châtelet and transfer to N11 or N16. I knew Châtelet would have both of those lines, since that’s where I got lost the last time I had to take a nocturnal bus home, or as I like to call it, “the last time I had to grow up.” So that’s what we did. I picked up Sheila, and we walked to a stop that serviced N12, and got on. I sat Sheila down, and realized at the next stop that this bus was going away from Châtelet, so I pulled Sheila up out of her seat, off of the bus, sat her at the stop, looked at the map on the stop to find where the stop for the N12 bus that went in the opposite direction was, picked up Sheila, and headed up the street to the next avenue to the proper stop. Three stops later, we got off at Châtelet. I thought I’d have to drag poor Sheila for 10 minutes over by Hôtel de Ville which is where I had to walk last time… but no. I got to feel really stupid thirty seconds later. The N11 stop (in the direction we needed, too!) was right next to the N12 stop that we’d just gotten off of, and the bus came about a minute later. A seat opened up pretty quickly, so I plopped Sheila into it… and we rode the bus for the next 20 minutes… then we were able to walk home. We got home around 3:15, safe and sound. If you think I’d be able to do that in America with as much ease and with as much of a clear head (even if I were completely sober) without worrying if I’d be attacked, you’re absolutely crazy…

La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas. -Baudelaire. “Le Joueur généreux”


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