Lest We Forget

11 11 2013


Today I took a trip to the American war cemetary in Suresnes to reflect on the enormous sacrifice made for all who came after, that we can live in peace, and the general human spirit to do what is necessary for others. Both of my grandfathers served in the war but so many boys were lost, and we were so lucky to keep ours. I am incredibly proud of my country on days like these, that we were there, because when there was need, there was not choice.

To think that he was your son, you brother, your fiancé. Two of my friends got engaged today which got me imagining the heartbreak of those days so long ago. Happiness, wedding plans, family, your soulmate. War breaks out and he kisses you goodbye.

He never comes home.

Lest we forget.



11 11 2013

I’m not sure where people got the idea that the barman is an arsehole, slave or punching bag, but it sure as hell isn’t warranted and my rant is coming through to help the kids understand. He or she is not taking extra time just to piss you off, or ruin your party.

Quite simply, if you want to hurl abuse whilst I attempt to do my best, you can go and get fucked.

I am becoming less and less motivated to be the friendly, happy person behind the bar, dispensing happiness to help you enjoy your night, to loosen up the tongue when you see a cute guy or girl. My main aim here is to rid my own self of the negativity and find ways to laugh again, to avoid the wrinkles that come with having to yell at everyone. I may even retire the ‘Suck My Balls’ dance. But we won’t speak too soon as it is lots of fun, and very versatile – everyone can get involved.

Recently, I have noticed that the culture clash is much worse (at least for me) than it used to be. For example it seems customary and completely acceptable to display the following behaviours : (which will be followed by my response)

To wave cash / cards / empty glasses / menus in the bartender’s face – I see you bro, but you just lost your place in my queue because yes, actually, I do have eyes and I can, in fact, keep tabs on who is next. (Clicking or whistling will merit my question ‘Where is your dog?’ and then ‘Meet my bouncer’

To whinge about the speed of the service – Well how about that! I’ve been standing around scratching my arse / I’m dreadfully sorry, but the doorman has let other punters in tonight.

To exclaim ‘Finally!!’ when it comes their turn – You, sir, are an asshole, and shall remain thirsty.

To demand more than what is being paid for – Do you exige garments gratos at the register at H&M ? Perhaps a ‘cadeau’ of a garlic clove thrown in by Monoprix because ‘I shop here all the time’?

Complaints about prices – Bro, try ANY OTHER CLUB in this town and you’ll not get even twenty percent of the drinks of your round for the same price. (By round, I mean multiple drinks paid separately)

Grabbing your head to ensure  that you’re listening – I’d like to see you try that in any other establishment and see what happens.

‘MADEMOISELLE!!!!’ – is busy right now, as you can SEE with your EYES because there ain’t no GODDAMN LABRADOR by your side!

I would love to print on the back of a tee shirt ‘As soon as you see me stationary / chatting to my colleagues / doing nothing – feel free to hurl abuse. I wipe the bar, they’ll whinge that I’m not serving them. I serve them, they whinge because they’ve put their arm in a puddle of jager, beer, sperm or who knows what else. It drives me bananas.

I’m not sure where this highly efficient bar with lightning speed service is located, but it certainly doesn’t see eight hundred people walk through the door on a weekend and it sure as fuck isn’t located here in the capital of inefficiency. It was like chalk and cheese for the recent onslaught of hundreds of Kiwis in town for the All Blacks game, all buying rounds and paying cash, then they left for the stadium and the frenchies rolled in with their stilted ordering techniques and bank cards and bill splitting bull shite and everything went back to ‘normal.’

I regaled in a chef themed party one weekend because people thought piping ‘CHEF’ was a great idea. Until we turned it into a lovely innocent alternative to saying dickhead, and then the whole party was hilarious for everyone, but we had the last laugh. Chefs.

Think what you like about barfolk, we could be idiots, failed artists, high school dropouts, rock stars, recovering addicts, single parents, or highly skilled individuals or all of the above but, as I am going to try, you must expect positivity and good before the rest. If people turn out as planned, that’s awesome! If not, well its just another day at the office, or for me, another grey hair. If the tip of my tongue is missing, that’ll be why. I’ve never known how to bite it and if I learn, it may not last long!

So I’m done with the bullshit, the chefs and whatever, but I’ve got rent to pay and a bloody bonza group of kids on my side of the bar, so I must keep it going and bake cakes to fuel the smiles.


Things I’ve been thinking about

16 03 2012

This may be complete crap. You’ve been warned.

I have been getting lost in my thoughts quite frequently during recent times, during 24 hours of air travel, at work and whilst wandering aimlessly through Paris.

I like to record things I think about, because I enjoy the challenge of working out the answer to the question I ask myself, and may like to refer to it later.

I would like to buy a thesaurus. In english. I would like to expand my vocabulary, as I think it would excite my brain a touch, and in turn, my life. I have been losing words as they vaporise into the french equivalent and at times I find myself searching for words I’ve accessed easily for 28 years.We’ll see how that goes. Swimmingly, I hope.

I wonder about rubbish. Literally. I worry that one day we will all be neck deep in garbage and will succumb by way of drowning. I think about sticky tape, rubber from car tyres, exhausted pens, old clothes.

I wonder what I would say to my school bully, should I encounter him on the street. Would I like to land my first ever punch straight in his face? Or would I find something witty and intelligent to say about my achievements, use success as the best revenge. I would really love to do really well in life to counter the fact that six years of my life were a living hell (more on this later) and that it actually pushed me towards success. I think that all of these ideas could work in a team attack.

I wonder if I will ever have children to nurture and guide with the same methods used by my parents and grandparents, to create the best childhood memories.

I keep the hilarious and delightfully warm memory of my mum reaching up at me for a hug at the airport before leaving Melbourne last time, because she is so cute and tiny. It brings a few happy tears every time.

I think that at 18 I never would have believed that at ten years later I’d be in bed on a Friday night in Paris, writing a blog with my newly pedicured feet up.

Nanna says nite nite.

Quiet Time is Nice Time

27 11 2011

Yoga is too expensive.

Beaurocracy puts me in terrible moods.

I gasp like a caught fish trying to get out of the metro.

I mutter at strangers for their idiotic pavement zig-zags.

Zen is a hard thing to find, but the search must continue.

I have started to take day trips out of Paris, profiting from inexpensive train travel to sweet little towns with matching people, to be able to breathe, take photos and reconnect with the Katie I used to know. There have been times when I have felt as I were suffocating with stress and longing for home, and the panic would take a scary amount of time to subside. Prevention is what I’m looking for.

My last trip was to Chantilly, cleverly on a Monday when everything is closed. However I managed to lose myself and all my worries in the forest of the Chateau, just me, my Nikon and a very chilly day. I found motionless blue carp, the restaurant where sugar was added to cream to create what we know today as Chantilly and even some deer. My brain clicked off and my chest loosened, and a sense of calm washed over me, and all my worries melted away. I wish I could have such a feeling readily available in my pocket as needed.


Swans, Chateau grounds, Chantilly

27 11 2011

Swans, Chateau grounds, Chantilly

Staying positive whilst waist-deep in bullshit.

10 10 2011

When I’m not utterly in love with Paris, I’m at fisticuffs with France in general. It is famous for its useless state employees, who cannot be fired, and it is these guys who wage war on the innocent little strangers who try to add their talent to the pool. I’m talking about me against the social security system. As far as health care goes, France has one of the best systems in the world. This could be why they guard it with 45 flaming hoops and a pit of crocodiles, or so it would seem, from my failure after 2 attempts. The reason I am writing is to avoid blasting someone over the phone like they do on cartoons.

I stood in the Porte D’Orléans office for 45 minutes to speak to a lady who had a very obvious understanding of how incredibly frustrating the whole process is. Blasé is a word I would use. She was pleased to let me know that the person on the phone had malinformed me of the documents necessary and found it slightly hilarious, probably because she had a shiny green card in her portefeuille. It reminded me of how I didn’t have to worry about things like this in Australia, and how delightfully calm I would feel should I be there rather than this shitty office. The only thing I could do was laugh at the whole situation, mentally noting that this mission will need to rest for at least 7 business days until I will have the courage and enough positivity to battle again.

Another bad idea was trying to work out how to transfer my driving license to be able to drive in France, starting with a policeman’s response similar to if I had a set of balls growing on my forehead, and ending with a merry-go-round of phone numbers with no actual phone operator. They were just kidding! There’s no information here! You have to go online to this website, where the links will be dead, your query will not be supported or go in person to this street, in the 18th arondissement, by METRO CLIGNANCOURT. No Thanks.

So I did what any normal girl would do in a case like this – shop. This time it was a bit of Indian grocery shopping, through the scary 10th arondissement – ‘no sir, my name is not, in fact, ‘Miss Miss’ and my nails are fine for the moment, and thankyou for offering, but hair extensions suit better the ladies in the side street’- then along to Rue de Rivoli’s fancy end to Galignani to buy a book about French history (subconscious sucker for punishment) and homeward bound, for a cup of Yogi tea (with cute messages on the paper tabs – they must have known of my average day) and some big band jazz. Happy at last.

Friendship and Longing

14 08 2011

I really miss my friends today. Heartbreakingly, profoundly and with the strongest kind of longing I would give anything to be sitting in a restaurant with Julia and Tainz and a plate of something of Melbourne standard, a glass of something from the Yarra Valley.

My heart breaks a little more when I think of how close I am to so many wonderful friends here in Paris, about as far from home as I can be. This begs the question, among others, of where I belong, and where I will end up. Between missing home, keeping up the friendships here and wishing well those who leave at the end of their stint here, it’s some of the hardest stuff I’ve ever had to deal with. And it doesn’t ever stop, or get any easier.

I wish I could be there to read her face and ask her what is really going on, what she’s not telling me, because bonds like we have go beyond words to a place where we are one mind in separate bodies, and it has taken years to get to this point, and I fear that in just months, or even days, I could lose it.

I am glad that I have had the means to be able to fly home to share the joy of Julia’s beautiful wedding, or just chilled out times over oysters and Cuvée Riche at a fabulous vineyard with Tainz, and I feed off these times when I feel a million miles from home.

There are moments when someone here will make me so happy that I forget all this for a while, a memorable one being when Sophie left me the last piece of chocolate at work, because she knows how much I love it. I still think back to that and it makes me smile. Tainz sends me cards with rude pictures, because she knows I will appreciate it.

I think the trick is not to think too much, to stay in touch, to make sure people know that you love them, no matter how far away you are, that you are thinking of them and sending them love always.

I love you. You know who you are.