Le cul entre les deux chaises

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

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My Spidey Sense

The first time I remember my Spidey Sense kicking in, I was walking around Downtown Crossing in Boston, killing time between classes. I was suddenly compelled to enter a store that wouldn’t normally interest me. It was a place that sold weird alarm clocks and consumer weather forecasters and complicated calculators. I went directly to the back of the store and came face to face with this.

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I used to collect lions and, though this was in the early days of my Felidae-fancy, I was incredibly excited by this find. I bought it on site and didn’t realize till I got home that it was also a flashlight, something I actually needed.

Since then, my Spidey Sense has pulled me down side streets, urged me to take alternate routes and accidentally introduced me to wonderful things. I trust in Spidey and will almost always follow where he leads. The sensation is what led me to discover that BK was in Paris: one day, I was walking along and, while turning my head to check for traffic, my eyes instead zeroed in on a familiar logo in the distance.

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Most recently, I was stumbling around the Haussmann / Havre area in the 9è and my Spidey Sense stopped me short in front of this window. Can you see what drew my attention?

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That’s a trick question, because what my Spidey Sense felt was that there were boxes of Oops! All Berries inside the store on the back side of this display. *I* would never have known it and may have glossed over the place entirely since it’s a kind of Urban Outfitters-wannabe that caters to teens and that’s not really my bag.

But the Oops! All Berries. I’ve never held a box that was so full of Oops! All Berries. Somehow, they had been shipped so that none of the berries were crushed, resulting in a box that felt solidly full. And when the cashier checked me out, she didn’t notice that the price in the computer was 20% less than the ticketed price. (I didn’t correct her because this was all part of Spidey’s plan.)

Moral of the story: Spider-Man is a force for good in the world. Trust in the Spidey Sense.


Your friendly neighborhood Speeder-Man

Winter has finally come to la petite couronne. Snow, my favorite thing came last week.

Vue de ma fenêtre

Vue de ma fenêtre

Among the many things I love about snow is the chance to walk around in it like a boss, never falling, slipping or losing my footing in any way. I accomplish this by using my chief weapons, balance and traction. The balance comes from the eons I spent doing ballet and the traction comes from a keen eye for good footwear.

Pulling out my super winter shoes (not to be confused with regular winter shoes), I thought of Spider-Man and how, despite the sadness I feel about the continued Americanization of the world, having common cultural icons can be very useful.

The situation went like this: a friend of mine in Lyon who literally lived on Steep Side of Big Ass Hill (Montée de la Grande Côte), had bought a new pair of boots and was looking forward to wearing them out but was concerned about sliding all the way down the street and then not being able to make her way up again. The boots were made by El Naturalista, a Spanish company. Being well versed in Spanish shoe brands, I knew she wouldn’t have any problems, but how to express this in French?

spiderman-cartoon-comicI actually tried combinations of real words that I thought might make sense like “those shoes stick/are adhesive” and “they are like suction” but nothing was getting through. Finally, I said, “Don’t worry. The boots are like Spider-Man” except I pronounced it French (Speeder-Man) and she totally knew what I meant. When she got home later that night, she said that I’d been right and proceeded to make suction sounds (shrup-shrup) while making Spidey moves.

Look at some things

Since I don’t take very good photos, here are the two days that Suzanne et Pierre took to the streets to document all the snowy goings-on around them. For other takes, here is a curated BuzzFeed collection of Paris under neige and some great images of Montmartre (where there’s actually a hill) enjoying the snow from “A French Frye in Paris.” The Frye’s post was also Freshly Pressed this week, so super congratulations to him!!