The day that I ate at Septime, the meal was the clear highlight in what could be described as a mild sugar show of a day. It began with a close call catching the Eurostar and then continued with uncooperative cell service. It would function enough to give me hope, only to, without notice, disappear, taking with it my saved offline maps and leaving me stranded in Paris - all this while flaunting a 5-bar 4G LTE lie in my face. By the afternoon, I was desperately searching for anywhere to buy a sim card. The first store I tried was having system-wide computer problems, and so, I found myself at an Orange with an anticipated hour-long wait. After waiting much longer because they lost my name on the list, I was then told that my license did not qualify as identification and that I would need my passport, which I had stowed in the apartment for safekeeping. I understand that that is the rule, but my frustration was reaching red-zone levels because, if they'd only made sure I had the one, single requirement (aside from payment) at the start, I would have had enough time to retrieve it and get to another store before closing, but I was now forced to make it through the end of the day and travel to a different city the next morning sans data. In the end, it was the employee's tant pis expression, refusing to acknowledge that they'd caused me any inconvenience at all that broke through the glass ceiling of my emotions, and hot, angry tears began to leak from my eyes. I had to get out of there.
After finally emerging from the godforsaken store (because what is a clearly marked path if not a place for people to congregate?), I beeline for anywhere that is a couple blocks away and then stop to fervorously will my phone into showing me the way to the Metro. At this point, my eyeballs are having a full-on melt down, and of all the cities in all the world, it had to be in Paris. I can see people watching me out of the corners of my eyes, and in particular, one woman began to walk by, backtracked, and then stopped and stood staring. "Please, pleaseee just keep walking," I silently pray to myself, but this was to go unheeded, as she instead walked over, clutched my head to her bosom, and began to rock me back and forth.
"Shhhhh, shhhh, calm down. ... Your boyfriend?," she asked.
Now, some of you may be thinking that it was incredibly sweet of her to not just continue on by but to make sure that this hot mess of a girl would be ok, and I would agree. But from my perspective, having your head suddenly clasped to a stranger's chest on the streets of a foreign city was so unbearably mortifying that could not have wished harder for a hole to open up in the ground and swallow me whole.
It was not too long after these events that I made my way to Septime for dinner with my friends, Philippe and Amine. In fact, dinner here was only possible thanks to the efforts of Philippe, who, after reservations booked up within a couple hours of release, went in person to the restaurant and left triumphant with a late night res for the only day I was to be in Paris. By the time that evening approached, I was definitely feeling frazzled and upset, but it's amazing how restorative a good meal with good friends can be. It may always be too soon for me to laugh at my embarrassing and weirdly out of body experience on the streets of Paris, but at least it makes for a funny story, and at least it ended on a good note. And that's my point: travel experiences will not always go your way, but you'll always have those 'at leasts'.
Not Picture: Small, simple salad of crispy lettuce with vinaigrette after the waffle.
Date: September 2016
Camera: Canon 6D
My face, probably.
[Screenshot from the TV show, Dix Pour Cent.]