Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Dream blogging

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I had a dream the other night that I was in Barcelona with my best friend and a girl I knew in elementary school. I was taking them around the city and showing them the markets and where the best ice cream could be had. We passed an ATM and I said I wanted to go in to get pictures for the blog. (This is actually a thought that I’ve had, how I regret not having taken pictures of some cool tricks certain ATM machines can do to feature on the blog that I didn’t yet have the last time I was in BCN.)

Not a real person's card.

Not a real person’s card.

So we go into the teller space and I put my card in, but the options I want aren’t available because my ATM card is French and therefore has a puce and I am disappointed. We go to lunch in a restaurant I’ve seen before but can’t recall where in the world it was. When we’re done, I ask for l’addition and then laugh because I’m not in France and then I say ¿me cobra? and I carefully calculate 20% for the tip and take the amount to the register. The woman there looks at me like I’m crazy and I get flushed because I remember that you don’t really tip in Spain and I tell her that I’ve been gone so long, I’m like a guiri [stupid tourist] and the woman laughs at me in a mean-spirited way because she’s Spanish and thinks I’m an idiot. Of course, she *is* Spanish, so she doesn’t understand that living in multiple cultures and languages is sometimes mentally taxing. I grab the extra cash and, as I’m leaving with my companions I say, “Oof, a lot of stuff for the blog today” and then I woke up.

Learn something

A puce is a flea. In the context above, it refers to the embedded microchips used in French ATM/debit cards (see above, on the left). They make life way easier as you never sign for anything but just stick half of the card in a reader and enter your PIN.

A flea market is a marché aux puces a term I’d never really thought about until I actually thought about it (you know what I mean, right?). I am not a flea market kind of person partly because used things presented in piles that you have to dig through grosses me out, but also because they’re called FLEA markets and that really grosses me out. Open-air markets are different beasts entirely.

General Internet Warning

I strongly recommend that you get any Internet-needed things accomplished before tomorrow (Saturday May 25) because it’s very possible the Internet will break once the new season of Arrested Development becomes available on Netflix. You may think I’m kidding, but I am not going to be surprised if many sites are noticeably slower and others crash under the load. Achtung!

(Incidentally, if you need help following all the jokes or just want to relive some favorites, “Recurring Developments” has meticulously cataloged every single joke on the show’s previous three seasons.)

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

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