Wednesday, December 07, 2005


As told to me by D. Atkinson:

Finding that I had a mere three days to spend in France while my ship was docked, I decided to go to Paris and visit the Louvre. While most of the French in western France were friendly, those in Paris were the stereotypical American hating French that you hear about. Given that I'm 6 foot 3, I was immediately noticeable, and obviously American. I didn't get much help in Paris from the natives, but I got around just fine.

After tooling around the Louvre for a while, I decided to go check out the Egyptian mummy exhibit that I've heard people talk about. Although I don't speak any French, I could sort of extrapolate where the mummy exhibit was located and by looking at the map I picked up on the way in, I could see that I had to get to a set of elevators to get downstairs to the exhibit.

So I made my way to the elevators and hit the down button. Several seconds later, the door opened and a little French man stood there looking at me. This man looked like what you would imagine a beatnik Frenchman to look like: black beret, little goatee, standing about 5 foot 3, with that idiotic man-purse the Europeans are so fond of. It was as if someone had picked this guy out of a movie and placed him in the elevator in front of me. And of course, he also had that Parisian attitude.

He saw that I had the map open to the mummy section and started saying something to me in rapid fire French. I tried to understand him, but he showed no signs of trying to help me understand what he was trying to say. So I decided to blow him off and tried to get in the elevator. But this little French guy kept getting in the way, still yammering on about something. I just stared at him blankly.

I managed to get around him and got in the elevator, at which point this little man, who was getting quite agitated, said something quite curt, a cussword probably, and stomped off. Amused but irritated, I was glad when the doors closed.

Now what I didn't know was that the mummy exhibit was closed for repairs and maintenance. Apparently the Frenchman was trying to tell me this, but me being the dumb arrogant American, just ignored him and went down the elevator anyway. So when the doors opened in the basement, I was staring into a darkened void of a hallway, filled with boxes and crates. Realizing my mistake, I got back on the elevator to get back to the ground floor.

When the elevator doors opened back on the first floor, the little Frenchman was there waiting for me, with his hands on his hips and the tip of his nose just a fraction of an inch away from the door. And as the elevator doors open, he looks up at me and spits out with the most utterly condescendingly disgusted tone, "Voila!".