I am in France for a couple of days and it already feels a bit funny. When I say 'funny', I suppose I mean 'weird'. Nothing seems to ever change in my small village. The cars are as small, old and rusted as ever, and my late grandmother's car is no exception. Frankly, it feels a bit like driving a huge pot of yogurt. Interesting. My grandfather buys his fresh baguette every day. He then reads his newspapers. Every day the same ritual.
When you visit a shop, you need to greet the shopkeeper with a loud 'bonjour Madame' (or 'Monsieur'). Unlike in London, you mustn't ask 'how are you?' (Comment ca va?) too often, otherwise you will get told something like 'I am fine, nothing has changed since I last saw you (a month ago )'. Lesson learned, I will shut up next time.
So here I am, trying to remember that I used to belong here but finding it hard to fit in. To make matters even worse, today I bumped into an old friend of mine on the street, and it turns out that he is an estate agent now. Apparently, we were classmates when I was 7 or 8. It was embarrassing: I couldn't even remember his name. His face and voice were vaguely familiar, but that was it. We had a quick chat, and he was very adamant that we should meet again. How weird. There can only be two possible reasons for this:
- 1. we had a thing for each other at the time (probably more on his side than mine -I think I would remember?);
-2. I have greatly improved over the last 30 years (or so - am rounding down a bit). I think that's the reason, right?
Given the fact that I was a stern geek as a child, can you see any other explanation ?
Anyway, tonight I will be back home. In London. And it feels good. Because the past should stay where it belongs: in the past...