Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nature Called

Please note: the following happening is not a common occurrence. I don't think.

One of the things I love about where we live is that I can walk to the butcher, the bakery, the market (you thought I was going to say candle stick maker didn't you?) and a few other shops. As I think has been the case in most of France; this week has been amazing weather. It's just gorgeous here in Lille. I know those of you in the south of France or in Paris can not possibly believe this but it's been 26 (~77) and sunny for a full week now here in the Nord-pas-de-Calais. I think I'm even getting a little tan from my daily outings!

I don't just want to sit inside and look at the weather, I want to be in it, so everyday I get out and go someplace. I took a day off from hotel shopping for the wedding and decided to walk to the market and the flower shop to pick up a few items. As usual, the fruit and vegetables were beautiful when I got there. The tomatoes here are so red they make your eyes squint and your taste buds tighten up when you see them in the sun. So I made my healthy purchases and headed home. I was walking in the sun smiling to myself as I day dreamed of how I am going to need to find a seamstress in Lille because I am going to be so damn skinny by the time my wedding gets here in October that my dress won't fit.

I pass some girls chatting, some boys on their bikes trying to look as if they don't notice the girls, then I cross the street and begin the walk down my block while mentally jamming with Jimmy Buffet on my iPod. Being the cautious soul I am I look both ways and begin to cross into the second block of my street. I look ahead and there is a businessman in navy blue pants and a plaid shirt standing about 20 yards ahead of me facing the shrubbery holding his brief case in his left hand. I'm not sure why I notice the briefcase. "What is he doing? Where is his right ha -- oh my."

By the time I put together the scene; back to me, front to bush, one hand visible, leaves of shrub near his knees quivering and reflecting the sun off their newly slick surface, I am across the street two car lengths from him. I start a bit as if trying to avoid poop on the sidewalk, but alas it's pee on the bush and a view of this man's nether regions I'm trying to avoid. My eyes dart from side to side looking where to go, but I'm already somehow across the street and there is a car parked on my left blocking me in the sidewalk. What would he do if he notices me? Say hello? Drip on my new groceries? Think Susan...what to do?

Whatever, it's France. I put an extra spring in my step, put my nose in the air and just walk by swinging my fruit and veggies less than 5 feet from him. I did however try to pretend like I was looking across the street at something very interesting and I might have upped my pace a bit. But once I passed by it was it if never happened. Even now I'm not sure if I imagined it. I couldn't turn around, I might turn to salt like that woman leaving Las Vegas - I mean Sodam and Gomora.

Damn...somehow I forgot the flower shop.


Anonymous said...

I remember being shocked the first time I saw someone publicly urinating..if I recall it was also a man in a business suit! It seems fairly common because there aren't that many public toilets around. That's one thing my husband adored about Australia 'there's toilets everywhere! and they're free! and clean!'. Unfortunately for us girls we're locked into the vicious cycle of going to the cafe and buying a drink in order to use the toilet and then to again need to pee because we had a drink at the cafe..

Leesa said...

hehehe... I happen upon similar events here, too... Not too long ago... cops were stopped on the side of the autoroute.. one was peeing in a bush... and he was in FULL view! Well, full view except for that... Heheheheh...

Susan said...

Le Tigre - I know, typically we don't charge to pee in the US, and all stores have restrooms. This way you can shop longer, oh, and you can shot on Sunday too. Gotta love at least a little part of capitalism.

Leesa - So even the cops do it?! Last summer we came for a visit and I was shocked to see folks (translate - men and boys) on the side of the road just lettin it all hang out.

Justin said...

ah yes, a habit I do not plan on picking up while living in France. I am a fan of hotel lobby bathrooms but those are only usually an option for 3 star and up.

Susan and Simon said...

There is no real excuse for it, except that it is just accepted as perfectly normal. So far as I know all bars in France are obliged to allow anyone to come off the street to use the toilets.

J said...

LOL! I don't know how you maintained your composure. I just couldn't have.