Tuesday, January 24, 2006 

'Zee Franch...

Anyone who knows me knows that I am quite the Francophile. I love most all things French. I love the language, the culture, the country. Almost all of the blogs that I read on a regular basis are those of expats living in France. It's true.

Weird how this happened to a Black girl from Tacoma.

When I was in the fifth and sixth grades, I attended a school where a French teacher came in once (or twice, I don't remember exactly, but "What up!, Madame Long.") a week to teach us kids a few phrases. I took French again when I started high school. In ninth grade, I won a challenge our teacher put forth to be the first person to memorize and recite the Pledge of Allegiance in French. When I was 16, I was in an exchange program in Narbonne (in the southern Languedoc-Roussillon region.) I spent that summer on the shores of the Mediterranean, amazed. Amazed by the history, the beauty, the language, and the people of that country. I was pretty much fluent, even dreaming in French. I took French the first two years of college, but I majored in Theatre, so electives took a backseat after sophomore year, and that was it. Fast forward to now, and I can hardly understand every third word of conversations I hear around me. I hear French a lot because, in accordance with my obsession, my daughter, who is in fifth grade, has attended a French school since kindergarten (there are three French schools in San Francisco, for some reason.) She passed my level of French in about second grade, I think.

I have always wanted to live in France. If only for a year. I could just plop my kid into a neighborhood school (thus saving me over $10K a year.) I could take classes at a university (free) and get back the language I've lost. It's nearly impossible for an American to work in France, though if not working for a firm that has sent you there and is willing to take care of the extensive paperwork for you. Of course, I've considered trying to get one of those elusive jobs, but alas, I have no skills (see Theatre major, above.)

Next best thing? Marry someone French for the papers. I posted this ad on the Craigslist Paris site:

Je cherche un mari français. Je suis américaine, et je
voudrais habiter et travailler en france. Si vous vous
intéressez à vivre aux États-Unis (j'habite à San
Francisco) écrivez-moi s'il vous plaît. Nous pouvons,
peut-être, trouver un accord mutuellement favorable.

It basically says "I'm looking for a French husband. I'm American. If you want to live and work in the US, maybe we can work something out."

I got so many responses, I had to take it down after a couple of hours. I've narrowed it down to a few prospects. And now I'm nervous. One guy lives in Paris, one in Pasadena, but one is right here in the City. Yikes. This could happen. I don't know how I'd handle actually getting what I wanted...

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 

Good News, Bad News

Well, the good news is I was wrong: no infection. I suspected as much, but my rampant hypochondria got the best of me.

As for the bad news, well, the reason I had a wisdom tooth removed at my advanced, ahem, age is because at an annual dental exam my dentist, Dr. Noordeh, noticed, on my x-ray, what she thought might be a cyst around one of my impacted wisdom teeth. She referred me to an oral surgeon who confirmed it. This was over a year ago. There was much discussion about the tooth's removal because the tooth's roots were so precariously close to the nerve running along the jawline. Any trauma to the nerve could leave me permanently with a tingling, novocaine-like tingling of my tongue, lip chin and cheek. Not a promising proposition. Anyway, I went back to the oral surgeon in December. He informed me that he was retiring, and introduced me to the doctor who would be taking over his practice. We talked and we decided that there was no sense in putting it off, when really it would in most likelyhood continue to grow. So, I made the appointment for December 29th - I didn't have plans for New Year's anyway...

Anyway, the biopsy results came back. The cyst was a tumor. Not malignant, but of a type that could possibly regrow. Over and over. Which means I would have to have the same surgery. Again and again. I have to go back annually for five years to make sure I'm clear. Joy. But I'm not dying. At least not yet. Or of septicemia.

Sunday, January 08, 2006 


Not in the good Patsy Cline way, either.

I can't sleep. Every once in a while I'm struck with anxiety based insomnia.

Tonight's ruminations revolve around the infection I'm sure has developed around the site of wisdom tooth extraction. Never mind that I took the prophylactic antibiotics and the oral surgeon said everything looked good at my follow up appointment. I have, for some reason, convinced myself that the infection has found its way into my blood stream putting me at risk for septicemia. I'll write about it here if I find out I'm right about this. 'Cause I just love being right.

Also on the agenda for keeping me awake is the new job. I made it through the first week, but now that I'm there, and have a clearer picture of the job, I'm not sure I'm up for it. It's more responsibility that I want, the program I'm in charge of is in a horrible state, and they are looking at me to whip it into shape by the end of the fiscal year, June 30. I don't know. The money is good, and god knows I need it. Maybe I'm just rusty. I haven't worked (besides temping) since April. Fuck. I can't afford not to stay. But I'm not happy.

Got an email from Brian on Monday. When I was in college I worked for Boeing during the summer breaks. Yes, the airplane company. They had this program - for all I know they still do - where they would hire college kids to work doing maintenance during the summer to earn money for school. It paid a lot, especially for college students (it was a who you know kind of thing to get hired - my brother, sister, and sister-in-law all worked for Boeing at the time.) Two summers I was a roofer. Two other summers I was a maintenace electrician. There were only two of us college girls (hi Heather!), the rest of the crews being guys, and we were both pretty cute back then, which means we didn't do a ton of actual "work." Anyway, Brian was my supervisor for two summers. God, what a crush I had on him. The first summer we worked together, I was 19 and he was 25. I was fairly aggressive back then, and did not keep my feelings a secret. He tried to be professional. He really did. I ignored that. He told me he had a girlfriend. I didn't care. I went back to school after the summer, and we called and wrote to each other - platonically - to keep in touch. The following summer, it was game on. We never did "it," but there was some serious flirting going on back and forth, enough so that his supervisor called us in and told us to cool it.

At the end of that summer, Brian and I decided to have dinner together to send me back to LA. We met in West Seattle. He parked in some convenience store lot, and I drove to dinner. He talked a lot about how he cared about his girlfriend, how with my living in LA and him living in Seattle, it would never work out, anyway, and how much fun we have together and what great friends we'd always be. I was so disappointed, but I knew he was right. After dinner, I drove him back to his car - which was hoisted up by a tow truck. No parking on private property! After paying the driver and getting his car, he told me what an "expensive date" I was. It was time to say goodnight. There was a weird "should we or shouldn't we kiss?" moment. He had to go meet his girlfriend, and my mom wanted her car back in Tacoma. I decided to go for it. I leaned through his car window and planted one on him. He opened his car door and pulled me onto his lap. We made out for a good half hour and said goodbye. We cried, because we both knew I wouldn't be moving back after graduation. But we'd keep in touch.

Of course we lost touch after a few years. Several years later, when I was still in LA, my sister called me. She was the only person in Tacoma with our last name listed in the phone book. She had gotten a call from a guy named Brian who was trying to get in touch with me. She had offered to take his number and pass it on to me. I called him. It was great, we caught up, and then he dropped the bomb: he was getting married. I was confused. I wanted to know why the fuck he was trying so hard to find me to tell me. After what, five years? Did he want to invite me? He had thought about me often. That "what if?," shit. Well, it was too late. He was engaged, for fuck's sake - and I wasn't moving back to Washington, and he wasn't moving to California. It was moot.

So, Brian is married. He's had two kids and a vasectomy, and moved to the country where he's building a house for his family from the ground up.

And he emails me every once in a while. I haven't written back to him yet. It's so random. I told him on the phone a few years ago that I couldn't believe that he really married someone else. I think I still feel that way.

I think it is a fact that if we had ever actually had sex with each other, we'd be totally incommunicado these days. I think our relationship is held afloat partly on the (nonexistent) chance that maybe, one day...

Sunday, January 01, 2006 

Happy New Year

...and happy birthday, Mr. AIM.

I've been doped up and sleepy since I had oral surgery on Thursday. Antibiotics and painkillers.

Also, I start my new job on Tuesday, so we'll see how that goes.

More later.