24 Mai (Samedi) - Every once in a while, life kicks you in the butt just to make sure you're paying attention and to remind you of your frailty. It serves to keep you aware that no matter how cool you think you are, you are not the most important thing in the universe. Today was my turn to get a swift kick. This will probably be the most embarassing post I ever have to write (I hope).
Before I get into the events of the day, I want everyone wherever you are to give a long, long standing ovation to Katia and Frog, two of the most wonderful, friendly, caring people it has ever been my pleasure to meet, and without whose help I'm not sure I would be able to write this today.
The day (actually it was evening) got off to an ominous start when we walked to the bus stop to get the 69 to rue Vielle du Temple in the Marais. What had originally been scheduled as a picnic meeting on the Point Vert, was changed because of the inclement weather, to a bar meeting in the Marais. But it started looking like we might have another bus incident, because there was another manif and, of course, it affected our bus. It has seemed like someone is deliberately trying to sour us on Paris, or at the very least, the Paris transportation system. It's not going to work. We are too far into this romance to let a few setbacks deter us.
It was time for plan-B, but we hadn't formulated a plan-B, so we had to wing it. First I thought we could walk down to Place Léon Blum to get the 56 to Place de la République, but after checking the plan de l'autobus, I decided we should take the 56 to Charonne and pick up the 76 which would drop us off right at rue Vielle du Temple (well, within a half block). We started to walk, but I was already tired so decided we should wait for the 61 down to Place Léon Blum.
We caught the 56 to Charonne, where we awaited the 76. We had time to take a good look around and decided we really liked the area.
Upon arriving at rue Vielle du Temple, I checked the information I had written down from Katia's email, and we took off for the Yono Bar at 27 rue Vielle du Temple. The only problem was that the address was what appeared to be a private residence. We began walking up the street looking for the bar. Robb went into a place and asked for directions. The address was 37 rue Vielle du Temple. It was about 20h20 when we arrived to find no one there. Katia had said there was a chance they wouldn't be able to get in, in which case they would go to another place just around the corner. When we walked in there was almost no one there. We thought about going to the other place, but I decided to call and see where everyone might be first.
Just as I was dialing Katia's number, they all appeared in the dorway. Katia, KylieMac, Frog, Erica and a few people I didn't yet know.
Everyone walked to a table in the back, but KylieMac has serious allergy problems and couldn't stay there, so we all walked to the other bar. We commandeered a large table in the back of the place. There was a championship futbol game on TV between Paris and Lyon. Before the game started they showed some information about a match that had taken place in 2006 and I mistakenly thought that was the game they were showing tonight. I couldn't figure out why everyone was getting so excited about a game that had taken place two years ago. At any rate, some of the other customers were getting quite loud in their enthusiasm for the game, so we all moved to the front of the place where it was a bit quieter.
Robb and I hadn't eaten anything and we were getting hungry, so we told the others we were going to get something to eat and then we would rejoin the group. There was a tenative plan to move the party to L'Enchanteur, a gay karaoke bar some distance away, so if they weren't there when we got back, that's the place to go.
KylieMac suggested a well-known falafel place just around the corner (L'as du Falafel) and we thought we might go there, but we didn't see it and opted for a nice looking restaurant instead. We started with a cold soup similar to gazpacho but not. It was very good and welcome because we were feeling a bit warm. Because of the crazy weather for the past week or so, we're never sure how to dress, so we had worn our new leather jackets. We followed the soup with a plate of duck with potatoes and salad. The duck was in some kind of sauce that neither of us recognised, but it was so good. I may have eaten a bit too much. We drank a pichet of vin rouge and finished with a café.
We headed back to the party at the bar. As we arrived everyone was just starting off to the gay karaoke bar, L'Enchanteur, so we tagged along. It was quite the trek and if Rhino hadn't lingered with us, we might not have found it. But find it we did. It is on two levels (it might be more, but I only saw two) with the karaoke part downstairs. OMG! It was like being packed into a sardine can in a steam bath, there were so many people there. Someone explained that they usually do this on Thursday night and it's never that crowded. Frog and Katia started organizing who would sing what. It was determined they would do a duet and Frog, Rhino, Robb and I would do "I Will Survive". It was exciting to be included in the festivities and I was really looking forward to it.
Unfortunately, that was precisely the time life decided to administer its kick in the butt.
Suddenly, I was absolutely exhausted and to make matters worse, I really needed to urinate. I thought if I could just sit down for a minute, I would be okay until I could get to the toilet and relieve myself. But the exhaustion got worse and worse. I put my head down on my arms and tried to suck in as much air as I could, but it didn't help. And then I felt like I was going to throw up. I could actually feel myself slipping into unconsciousness. Then Katia and Frog were there helping me to get up. They were taking me upstairs where it was a lot cooler, and I remember being near the top of the stairs. The next I knew, I was lying on a bench just inside the front door, with Katia and Frog still there making sure I was okay. As I slowly regained consciousness, I was suddenly aware that I had emptied my bladder when I fainted.
God, I was so embarassed! It was bad enough to have fainted like some silly drama queen, but to have peed myself in the bargain was just too much for someone as socially insecure as me.
I hoped desperately that no one had noticed, but now that I think back, I don't see how anyone could not have noticed. But, if they did, they didn't mention it, thankfully. They asked how we were going to get home and I told them we were going to take the bus. Frog said there weren't any buses at night, but I said we would take the Noctilien. The only problem was I didn't know which one or where to get it. He insisted we take a taxi and called one for us. In the meantime, he and Katia sat with me to make sure I was okay.
The taxi arrived and we said our embarassed goodbyes. The cab took off. Sometime during the ride, I regained enough awareness to realize we were going in the wrong direction. I told Robb to ask the driver if he had understood the address we had given him. He had, but we had mistakenly said it the wrong way, and we were indeed headed to the wrong section of the city. The driver was very nice about it and, even though it was our fault, accepted part of the blame for the mix-up. We finally got it sorted out and were let out in front of our building.
I want to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone in our party for screwing up what should have been a wonderdul evening with friends, and to again offer my special, heartfelt thanks to Katia and Frog for their assistance.
Also, I apologize for no pictures on this post. My camera also recieved a swift kick evidently, and the only picture I thought I had taken before it bit the dust did not come out.
Plus à venir, mes amis.