Monday, January 17, 2011

Fish Out Of Water Rule # 1 Never Make The Same Mistake Twice

The lovely village of Minerve in the south of France

Last night I indulged in my guilty pleasure by watching an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters International set in the south of France. The house stood in the beautiful medieval village of Minerve, with an impressive Roman arch bridge spanning a deep ravine. The sight of the village brought back a not so pleasant moment that took place in a lovely vine-covered restaurant overlooking the ravine. 

I was with my impeccably dressed friend Lisette, and we had just finished ordering lunch when she stood up and said, “Can you come outside?” 

I sat stunned. My grandmother had the same disapproving tone in her voice whenever she noticed my pants were riding a bit too low. I instinctively checked my jeans as I stood up and walked out of the restaurant.

Lisette kicked at a stone while she nervously smoked a cigarette. What the heck had I done? I hated being thought of as the typical ugly American. I stared at her through a veil of smoke. “Is everything okay?” 

She gave me a smile as she put out her cigarette.

“I’m sorry, but I wanted to point out that you didn’t say thank you when the waitress gave you the menu. When she filled your water glass you just smiled.”

Can you say fish out of water moment? I followed Lisette back into the restaurant and made sure to say thank you, merci, when the waitress returned with our food. An amazing plat de jour of duck confit and truffle potatoes. When the waitress brought the dessert menu I said merci loud and clear. 

So before the chocolate mousse had a chance to hit the table, I once again I said, "merci."

By the polite nudge I received from Lisette, I probably went a little thank you crazy.   

Moral of the story:Always follow Fish Out of Water Rule #One: Never make the same mistake twice, or you might wind up with chocolate mouse in your lap! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Proverbial Fish Out of Water

Do you often feel like a fish out of water? Welcome to my world. When I was a kid my family moved slowly from the East coast to the West. I never fit into my changing environment. From New York to Colorado and finally to Southern California, all my fellow students let me know I talked funny. To make things worse my mother sewed all my clothes, so I dressed funny. I wouldn't have survived without my sense of humor. Not that I became the class clown but if you wanted to be entertained I was the kid you hung out with. One of my favorite teachers was convinced I would grow up to be a comedian. That never happened. Instead I found myself compelled to write humorous stories. And through them all there was one theme like my lifemy heroine was always a fish out of water.

This blog is the result of my New Years resolutions. I know there are fellow fish out of water people out there who by no fault of their own find themselves in foreign territory. Or maybe they are like me and actively seek out more fish out of water experiences by living in other countries. For me it was two years in Tokyo and a month in Tuscany. After a two year hiatus I recently returned from living for several weeks in a 12th century chateau in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. I hope my posts will brighten your day and let you know that a fish out water can learn to enjoy life on dry land.