So, last night I blew a gasket.
The Frenchman took me to see The Science of Sleep. It’s a cute but not great British film with lots of French in it. Of course, all the English was subtitled with French and none of the French was subtitled at all. Even though I learned great new dirty words like “nichons” for boobies and “pipe” for blow job, reading the French subtitles made me despair that I would ever learn to speak French like a normal person. I understood a lot of it, enough to realize that I would always try to force English idioms into my speech that a French person would never think of.
This is not why I blew a gasket.
We got there just as the movie was starting, after I basically got to his office late. (Reasons too numerous to mention.) As a consequence, I put off using the restroom until we got to the theater, which was around the corner and down the street.
When we arrived at the theater, I discovered that their toilets were broken. All of them. The whole restroom had been locked up with a vague sign on the door. There were no other toilets in the entire theater. Just the one.
That’s when I lost it.
After accidentally slamming open the glass door to the theater, I ran back to The Frenchman’s office, where his assistant was locking up and started screeching at her that I needed to use the toilet without even saying “please.” Between busted toilets, lack of reliable Internet connection, the fucked up washing machine episode, the front door problem, and our hot water going on and off all day for two weeks now, I’d lost my temper and certainly all of my manners. I was gritting my teeth saying, “I…HATE…THIS…PLACE,” steam blasting out of my ears like a cartoon bull. It seemed unfathomably insane to have broken toilets in a theater and not offer any alternative to patrons. It was even more insane that The Frenchman couldn’t get through to Orange technical support. (The Net is now stable, but extremely slow. The issues might not resolve unless we move into downtown Aix. )
Why doesn’t anything fucking work here?!?
Last night The Frenchman calmly but firmly explained to me that I had to stop judging the country that way. The French people have a higher degree of tolerance for inconvenience. That’s not how they judge their quality of life, and that I can’t judge them by my own standards. Even in the U.S., things are fucked up, just in different ways. Sure, some of the things here drive him crazy, too, but I have to recognize what’s a cultural difference and what’s not.
One of the only truly funny things to come out of The Science of Sleep was something the main character invented called “Disastrology.” He had a series of calendars with a different major disaster for every month. I think the only way I’m going to be able to cope with the clashes — cultural and otherwise — is to use my own disastrology. You know, like today the Sun is in Stuck Front Door and the Moon’s in DSL Crashes with Busted Toilets rising.
Actuallly, the front door’s fixed. I’ll have to come up with another sign…