Friday, June 10, 2011

Paris in June, jealous?

After waking up today around 1pm, following a much-needed 13 hours of sleep, I decided, this evening, that I would kick the jetlag for good. A glass of wine, some Coningsby, and some NPR later, it was nearly 3am, I was at the cusp of falling grad-studentishly asleep, and, just as the screaming of drunken undergrads in the hall had subsided, there was some beeping. I wasn't sure what it was, got my rings, bag, and keys sleepily, and went into the hall.

A fire alarm! Not a terribly loud one, from the room at least, but an alarm all the same. Like the rest, I headed down the (many) stairs and went outside. It stopped, I went back upstairs. And, it started again. I went back downstairs. After this, I lose count, but it was definitely at least five or six distinct rounds of this, lasting till past 4.

During this time, the outside part of the dorm had turned into a real college party, complete with the odd stiletto-wearing girl, but with more cigarettes and fewer guys over 150 lbs. This is, after all, Frahnce. (What calories it must burn to run up and down stairs that many times in one night! Trying to fix this now with delicious Whole Foods tortilla chips, a taste of home. My jetlagged stomach missed dinner and would like some guacamole to go with.)

I attempted to text and then call a night-owl grad student friend here, in all likelihood also roaming the "campus," only to learn that my phone was out of funds. I did eventually find her, but not before I'd paced back and forth through a frat party of sorts in my slippers and Old Navy "lounge" finery. Of course, once we met up, we got snooty looks up-and-down from some revelers (she in Crocs-as-slippers, me in slippers-as-slippers and, god forbid, a fleece) - the gall of the American exchange students, looking so sloppy for a middle-of-the-night fire drill or whatever it was! Where was our couture? We also got some cat-call action that seemed designed to flatter Patsy Stone - we're not "les filles," certainly not from the perspective of 19-year-olds, but it was dark and they were drunk. Our ignoring them led to our being called "salopes." Le pays de DSK, its educational elite, at that. And some others who, when we denied their request in French and English for cigarettes as they passed, decided that we were Spanish. Because, as my friend noted, it was inconceivable to them that people might just not carry cigarettes. It had to be a language issue.

I asked one of the security guards what was going on, and he said I could go back to sleep. Not with these alarms, but at least it wasn't an actual fire. Then, later, when I asked him if it was done for good, he said yes, and that my "colleagues" had set off the alarm. I wanted to be all, no, I don't think a bunch of pushing-30 grad students were the people screaming in the halls, dropping heavy objects, and defacing in brown (I want to say paint...) one of the dorm rooms that's being renovated, let alone setting off the fire alarm repeatedly in the middle of the night, but, details. But I didn't like being held responsible, even by association, for this, especially as someone far too old to respond to something like this by partying in heels. The only non-miserable aspect of this was that, thanks to the very jetlag I was fighting, I was (and am) fully awake for the whole of it. That, and knowing that when I wake up at 3pm or who knows tomorrow, I get to head straight to Le Boulanger des Invalides.

1 comment:

G said...

BUT. thanks to your translating I *now* know what 'salope' means. Whole. Night. Worth. It.