Queueing in Paree

Today I have to take a quick break from telling you about Morocco to tell you about my weekend, particularly a stupid vache with whom I will forever regret not having a shoving match.

I spent New Year’s with my roommate and her family at their gorgeous IKEA catalog of a home in the countryside outside of Paris. It was a lovely, relaxing weekend full of sleeping, reading, and simple homey pleasures that  I don’t have in my own crappartement, such as watching TV, using the internet in seated comfort, and hot showers.

To get home, I had to take one train back into Paris to catch another train back out to Angers, so I decided to make a day of it and visit the Musée d’Orsay.

The problem with any museum in Paris  is that you have to wait in a long line outside, especially the first Sunday of the month when they’re all free. (Any popular museum, that is. I could have walked right into the Museum of the Legion of Honor across the square). This was an intense line, snaking through the Tensabarriers, then through the square and around the block. I hadn’t realized how long I’d be outside and therefore hadn’t quite dressed accordingly.

I was feeling cold and impatient when things took a turn for the worse—the much, much worse—when a young couple blatantly, flagrantly, unrepentently cut in front of me.

The couple in question was composed of two strawberry blondes around my age. She, a French girl wearing items that may stylish on their own but came together as a train wreck, topped off with hair that clearly hadn’t been washed that day. Her accomplice, an English guy with a few days’ worth of scruff on his chin.

I despise him with less fury than I despise her because he voiced some objection—”There’s a long queue!”—clearly surprised that she would jump it so brazenly. He should have had the spine (…and balls…) to stop her. She shrugged and weaseled her way in between me and the person whose head I’d been staring at for at least 30 minutes already.

It wasn’t that I missed the head I had been staring it. That one was covered in particularly hideous dreadlocks. If anything, this vache’s stringy, greasy locks were an improvement in the scenery. It’s the principle of the matter that enraged me.

The ability to wait in lines is one of the fundamental signs of our almost uniquely human ability to cooperate in civilizations. Ants and bees are also skilled at it; the French are not. The French are generally a delightfully civilized people, which is why I’m surprised to say that this is at least the tenth time since I’ve arrived that I’ve observed them behaving not like members of a society, but like elephants fighting for their place at the water hole after crossing the Serengeti. Apparently, in this country, one does not calmly take a place at the end of the queue; one joins it where one likes. If you happen to be corrected (which is unlikely), you mumble something about how you’re still right because you are French so you are always right, and then you cut the first person who doesn’t defend himself.

I was debating whether to say, “Don’t even think about it,” or maybe “Bitch, I will choke you,” or simply “No fuckin’ way.” I was even prepared to use the British “jump the queue” nomenclature…but if I opened my mouth, I would have to reveal myself as American.

I should take a moment to describe how much I hate Americans in Paris. Why are my people so categorically loud and obnoxious? Of all of the nationalities represented on a busy day at a Parisian tourist site, the only one louder than Americans is Australians. Of course, Americans hate to be second place in anything, so they overcompensate by complaining. On any given day, I’m willing to bet there are more Americans complaining loudly in Paris than there are even in Los Angeles.

I didn’t want to join my fellow Americans in complaining about the French, but it was too late, anyway. As I picked up my jaw from the sidewalk, the moment passed. I mean, you don’t tap on someone’s shoulder to fuss at them a full 90 seconds after they’ve jumped the line. Plus, it’s hard to shed the five years of training in passive aggressive resistance I was subjected to in Minnesota. A masochistic part of me would rather just quietly hate her.

A Sadistic part of me, however, really wanted to kick her in the ankle. Considering how numb my toes were at that point, I could have kicked her hard. She was wearing fuzzy boots, though, which would have deadened the effect on her end. Besides, whatever I did needed to look like an accident.

I was wearing a heavy backpack, so I thought about spinning fast on one foot in hopes of knocking her over. The trouble is, the center of gravity in a backpack is low, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be satisfied if she didn’t get a black eye. Plus, there was always the chance of starting a domino effect and I wasn’t mad at anyone else in the line.

After a lot of plotting, I decided that I would be content with tripping her. I spent the remaining half-hour in line standing awkwardly close to her, trying to stick my foot in front of hers—very tricky, considering I was behind her.

As I stood awkwardly close, I composed a mental list of reasons that I’m better than her:

1. My hair was clean.
2. I would never wear black, navy, grey, and brown in the same outfit.
3. Her skirt was ill-fitting; mine, on the other hand, made my booty look adorable.
4. My face is prettier.
5. Most importantly, I would never cut in front of people who had been waiting in line for thirty minutes!

Because I was standing so close, I could also hear every word of her conversation with her boyfriend. They were speaking English, which made it even easier for me to judge her, and I must say, I took great pleasure in the fact that they were fighting.

She: We go all over Paris and you never say if you like anysing!
He: I’m having fun.
She: Why don’t you say anysing?!!?

She may make a habit of cutting in lines, but her karmic payback is an unsatisfying relationship with an emotionally unresponsive dude. She may have a better place in line, but my boyfriend is awesome, so really, I’m beating her at the game of life. With clean hair.

Sadly, despite my best efforts, I never succeeded in tangling my foot with hers.

That’s why I’m calling on all of my readers to help. If you ever see this girl, in Paris or anywhere in the world, I am offering a reward of getting you plastered in the bar of your choice if you trip this bitch.

This is what she looks like from behind, which is how you will see her, because queue-jumping is her modus operandi.

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