March 30th, 2009


Gay Paree

I like to please my friends. So I say 'yes' to a lot of things. 'Would you like to jump off this pier?' 'Yes.' 'Do you think this gravestone would make a good board for slicing pineapples on?' 'Yes.' 'Hold this while I run.' 'Okay!'

I am very agreeable. It never ends well.

SINÉAD: I want to go to Paris to research my book. You should come, because by then you will be done cutting down your book.
(Several weeks and sixty thousand words of banter cut - I have a problem, you guys - Susan took me aside.)
SUSAN: Sarah, you should book those flights to Paris.
SARAH: Okay!
CHIARA: Sarah, you should find a hotel.
SARAH: Sure!
SINÉAD: Sarah, let's talk about finding a hotel.
SARAH: Oh, I already booked one. Surprise!

That seemed to be completed to everyone's satisfaction. It took some time to sink in this probably meant I should actually go to Paris.

SINÉAD: Sarah, I am calling you to find out when and where we should meet tomorrow morning.
SARAH (in the spirit of mild curiosity): Where will you be tomorrow morning?
SARAH (charmed by this coincidence): Ah. I will see you there!
SINÉAD: *strange whistling sounds*
SARAH: Someone has clearly upset you. I should leave you to regain composure in peace and quiet.
SARAH: hangs up and thoughtfully turns off phone

I try to do what is best for my friends.

The next day we took a plane to Paris. Paris is very pretty, and sunny, and our hotel is in the Latin quarter, which is definitely the best bit of the city. The hotel is very cute, though it has a lift so small that Sinéad and I had a moment of unexpected intimacy with our suitcases, and the walls seem oddly to be upholstered rather than wallpapered. This makes the walls bouncy.

SINÉAD: I'm just going to freshen up.
SARAH: Very well. I shall spend my time bouncing off the walls.
SINÉAD: I would expect nothing else from you. Later we should have a pillow fight. I know you are very competitive, Sarah, but I will not be happy with you if you use a pillow laden with blades.
SARAH (still bouncing): Should something laden with blades be called 'bladen'?

Of course the first place we went was Shakespeare and Co, the famous English bookshop beside Notre Dame.

Notre Dame took a little bit of finding. We wandered the beautiful Parisian streets happily for a while.

SINÉAD: We should ask directions.
SARAH: *nods*
SINÉAD: waits expectantly
SINÉAD: Ask directions, Sarah. You speak French well.
SARAH: What? Oh no, I don't. I speak French very poorly. With an accent like Queen Victoria.
SARAH: Oh yes. Well, you know. I meant that I was stylish.
SINÉAD: Go into that bakery and ask directions.
SARAH (emerges from bakery with a wrapped-up box): I know the way to Notre Dame!
SINÉAD: What have you got in your hand?
SARAH: I'm not sure. It all became a little confusing in there for a while. Mistakes were made. I cannot be blamed.
SINÉAD: So you could have walked in and asked for a box full of poison for your husband.
SARAH: Do you think bakeries do that?
SINÉAD: This is Paris.

We opened the box and ate the array of tiny crumbly rolls, almond confections and tiny cookies inside. We are both still alive. So far.

We also finally made our way to Shakespeare & Co.

BOOKSHOP GUY: People work in this bookshop so they can stay in Paris for free. We're called tumbleweeds.
SARAH: Dear Sinéad, gone tumbleweeding. I will see you in a week.
SINÉAD: How about we go THIS way? Let's go on a tour bus through Paris.
SARAH: Sure!
SINÉAD: Let's listen to the tour commentary.
SARAH: No, no. I will tell you all about it. I am very familiar with the geography of Paris. See, that is the famous Parisian academy of the ninjas. And this fine broad street is where they do their ninja parade. It is called... the Rue de la Ninjas.
SINÉAD: Sarah, that is the Champs-Élysées.
SARAH: Yes, that is its other name.
SINÉAD: Sarah, is anything you are telling me actually true?
SARAH: No. Oh, I'm sorry, did you want it to be? I hadn't realised.
SARAH: In fairness, Sinéad, you did not make that clear.
SINÉAD: mutter mutter mutter BLADEN.

Our prize for the prettiest building went to the academie de la musique, because it was shiny. Then we went to a restaraunt, and accidentally picked a very fancy one. We think they let us in because of my coat, which looks like a flowery tapestry and is very beautiful. The maitre d' certainly liked me. Whenever he went by and something seemed to be going wrong, he would slap Sinéad's arm with a napkin for me.

LADY BESIDE US: My dears, how many weeks did you wait to get this table?
SARAH: Well, in the sense that we just came to the door and it took five minutes... no weeks.
LADY BESIDE US: *upsets her bread basket*
MAITRE D': *arrives with his napkin and slaps Sinéad again*

When we got up, with my usual style and grace, I tipped over my wineglass. Luckily, it was empty.

MAITRE D': *advances on us*
SINÉAD (holding out her hand): I know, I know. This means a slappin'.

Now we are going to the church where Descartes is buried, and apparently the best waffles in Paris are sold outside. Tombs and waffles? Two great tastes that taste great together!

Besides, I think Sinéad would enjoy some more adventures. I am happy to provide them for her. This is what friends do.