We arrive at the resort and discover that not only do the guests speak only Italian, French, Spanish, and German (for me a particularly difficult dialect and tone) but the staff too. We are quite alone. The language barrier is going to be a challenge but we're here now. (The cultural barrier is worse but more on that later.) And well, I brought us here so I'd best make certain that I not only manage this but that I do it with a smile on my face. First, if I don't, my kids and husband will eat me alive. If they sense that we're going to be unable to communicate with all of these people for 7 days, G-d help me. Secondly and more of a motivation for me is that clearly many of these French women can smell an American a kilometer away and I won't give them the satisfaction. I wouldn't let them see me struggle. I will be elegant and unflappable too, even if I don't look good topless in a bikkini. Even if I don't smoke skinny brown cigarettes. Even if I can't sip Expresso without gagging. I am going to be a lovely, polite, and gracious American.
Until you budge in front of me. Really? Who does this after 2nd grade? Who just cuts in front of someone in line? And, I don't mean once. I mean, like throughout the day, if you are not on guard and vigilient they will just look straight ahead and skip passed you. You snooze- you loose. And there is no false pretense as if to imply they didn't see you. It's blatant. It's more like an entitlement kind of walk ahead of you thing. "I want it to be my turn so I'm going now," says her strutt. And I'm stunned.
Stunned into silence the first time. And the second. The third time I pleasantly say, "I believe I was next.". Blank stare. She pushes ahead.
By day three I am now fantasizing in my lounge chair. What would happen if I could just reel off something in perfect French like, "excuse me but you certainly may not move ahead of me in such an uncivilized manner? It's most unbecoming. You must now hand over your croissant, I will buy your flat for 100 francs, and you are in jail until your next turn. And wait your turn!".
Or I could just trip her
Day 4, I have mastered the art of the body block. Oh yeah, I'm not a skinny little French woman in beach heels (who knew they even made beach shoes with a heel.) I'm an Eddie Bauer American size 10, in sturdy Keene flip flops and I can take you down. At the concierge desk, I will stand strategically front and center in order to prevent you from walking ahead of me. I will place my big beach bag to my right and angle myself so that you would have to jump over the giant potted plant on my left. You cannot circumvent my established place in the line. Yes, the line. Heard of it?! And, by the way if you don't respect my country or my language, why the hell are your children wearing Nike tennis shoes, Ralph Lauren t-shirts, and Ray Ban sunglasses?
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