I was having an email conversation with Sab of Paris Set Me Free, about macarons and his annoyance at how everyone is talking about them. I don’t know if I talk about them too much, I certainly love to make them, but the conversation made me recall a story that happened to me last summer. I hope you find it as funny as I (now) do.
I dedicate this story to Sab!
Here is my recount :
My boyfriend and I were invited to a birthday party for one of his colleagues and friends, who lives out in the eastern banlieu of Paris.
I had had a rough day.
It was hot.
Muggy and making my makeup look sad.
After working in the office all day (my day job is working for an American study abroad company) I had to rush over to this party, which required several transportation transfers.
I also didn’t want to show up to someone’s birthday empty handed.
The closest thing to my office where I could get something, anything… was a boulangerie that makes macarons as well. I got a box of those.
Now, you should know that I had not eaten much all day, because I was so busy and forgot to feed myself much lunch.
I also had forgotten to keep my phone charging all afternoon, and was low on battery.
I also had several bag of things I had to lug around that day.
Not a pretty picture.
So, I grab the box of macarons, which actually has to be carried very daintily, and flat, so as not to crush the delicate cookies.
So with purse, other two bags and a macaron box, I board the first metro that I was to take.
Ooops. Wrong line I realize after I have gone about 10 stations too far.
Ok, no problem, I have lived here 8 years and know this system like the back of my hand, right?
So I get off at the next station where I can grab a different line that is going where I need to go….all the while carefully balancing the macaron box.
I get to the stop in the banlieu where I need to be, and realize that, oops wrong again, I was right the first time and should have taken the line I was on before.
Ok, too much to take the metro all the way back and transfer and then take the original line another 6 stations or so. Can’t fathom that. So I look for bus lines that can help. I cross a plaza where there are several bus lines crossing through to peer at the map of one of the stops. Ok it looks like I have deciphered which line I need to take to get slightly north of where I am. But that stop is all the way on the opposite side of the plaza. It’s a very large plaza. As I arrive there, the bus pulls up. Oh joy! But just to be sure I am not confused, I ask the driver before boarding if he goes where I need to go. Fail. He does not. He points out a station midway across the plaza that I would need to take a bus at.
Now. I am. officially. Not happy.
And I am starving. which makes my temper even shorter.
I recross the plaza halfway swearing under my breath like a weathered sailor, and before I can reach the stop in time, I see the bus I need arrive, vomit passengers, gobble up some others and then pull away. I run frantically, still trying not to jostle the macarons too much. Fail again. Arms waving, bags flying around my shoulders, hair flapping and me shouting « attendez ! » did not help at all. He was a heartless bus driver. And should be punished by being made to run after buses all day, only to never be let on board.
So I wait for the next one. It arrives in 9 minutes. Ugh. Oh well, it’s time to calm down and take a breath.
And look at the map on my phone, which is almost empty of battery by now.
Finally I am on the bus.
Hunger pains in my stomach make me peek in the macaron box. Just to make sure they are not crushed of course !
I get to the stop that I need, and realize that the bus has dropped me off on the wrong side of the périphérique. Aarrrrrrrghh !
Just carry on I tell myself. Just carry on.
I am now an hour late, by the way.
I have informed my boyfriend of my trials and tribulations, so he knows how much of a wreck I am going to be when I arrive. I send a frantic text message to say that I am still not there yet, and am sort of lost. I type furiously on the key pad for fear that the phone dies any second now.
I find the footbridge that crosses the 8 lanes highway that runs around the city of Paris. I nearly have a heart attack while crossing it, as I get slight vertigo, and I could see down below on both sides of the bridge where cars were rushing pas like angry water rapids. I felt like any gust of wind might blow me over the side. (Silly really since it was a very wide bridge). But I walked smack dab in the middle just in case. And I walked fast.
Once on safe grond I consulted the dying phone again, to find the street i needed. I thought I found it, walked for about 3 minutes and realized it was not the right one. I retraced my steps. Asked help from a few passers-by. They did not know. But of course !
I am close to tears by now. And I am so hungry, and my blood sugar so low, that I might start yelling at the street signs soon. I decided I would do myself and everyone else at the party a favor and not appear as a mean crazy lunatic upon arrival. I carefully remove part of the ribbon that has secured the package, open the box and chose a macaron. It’s pink. Raspberry. It could taste like rubber for all I care. I just need some sugar in my system ! I eat it. On the street corner. Make-up dripping, bags hanging off my arms like dead weights, hair a mess. Patience gone. I eat that macaron. It was gone very quickly. I don’t think one is enough. I take out another one. I eat it. I feel slightly better.
Time to keep moving. I am so late they may have forgotten I was coming at all!
Oh please little android phone don’t die on me now ! I pray.
I peer at the darn map for the 50th time, and figure it out. But by now I am on the right street. I look up and see the right street name and feel a flash of joy rush through my brain. Then I look at the street number. Noooo ! I am going to have a ten minute walk.
I take out another macaron.
I eat the macaron.
I don’t care anymore.
When I finally arrive, there is only half a box of macarons. I am greeted at the door by my boyfriend and the party host whose birthday it is. I look like a sad, sorry, pitiful drenched rat that is slowly wilting in the Parisian summer heat. I slowly lift up the box of half-eaten macarons and give a please-pity-me smile, and say… « I had to eat some of them. It was either that or not arrive at all ! » We laughed long and hard about it.
I am sure he will never forget that birthday gift !
So what is the moral of the story ? Always buy a few extra macarons for yourself !!!!
Fabulous!! Hehe, I would have done the same.
PS – if you’re still up for teaching me, I’m keen to be taught 🙂
yes, we must plan a lesson chez moi!
Such a cute and funny story. You are a very good story teller. I could picture everything. I would have done the same with the macarons.
Why thank you Sonia!
That was exhausting! I’m impressed that you arrived with at least half a box!
Aw Melissa, I am so sorry for your “event” but yay for Macaroons!!! Baked goods always help “sweeten” up a moment
Added, I love your blog! 🙂
Yeah, second that, surprised you saved the last one! It wouldn’t have been a goner if that were me! Funny read!
Hi Melissa, yep, I absolutely loved your story about the melting macarons – priceless.
I’ll just modify your intro here a tiny bit, if you don’t mind 😀
Of course I don’t get ‘annoyed’ about people talking about macarons! People can talk about whatever they like, and with passion, preferably 😀
I just poke a little fun at those who seem to be thoroughly obsessed with them, knowing full well that people could say exactly the same thing about me and my endless pictures of peeling posters and dubious social commentary. To each their own, as ever.
In fact, your approach to the more glamorous side of Paris living is perfect for me, because it keeps me informed (very well informed, I might say) but your articles always have their feet on the ground. There, you didn’t know your articles had unpretentious feet, now did you? So now you do!
Take care Melissa!
May my “unpretentious feet” always be well shoed!!!
Thanks for your clarification Sab.
Would you like me to modify it in the article?
Ahhh reading your story really brings back beautiful memories of Paris. And funnily enough, I realise a number of the best soirées I went to involved misadventures on the public transport. I think it’s just the essence of Paris. Still, I’d take it any day to freeway culture in Los Angeles. And bet those macarons tasted fantastic after all that hunger. And I have noticed you’re right. People are crazy about them right now…
I would have done the same. Glad they could laugh about it and weren’t offended that you ate b-day boy’s macarons 🙂 Whew, what an adventure!
hehehehehe… I enjoyed reading this so much. Not because of your misery, but because things like this happen to me. And one thing I do is when I start losing my mind in it, I think “This will make a great story to be told” 🙂
Thank’s for this, I almost forgot I am at work!:-)))))
LOL! Glad you enjoyed it! Life is a great story to be told, as long as you can laugh at the frustrating parts! Thanks for your comment.
Thank you so much for tweeting this post this morning – it was just what a needed, a few belly laughs!
So good to know I’m not the only one who has stressful travel moments in Paris!!
Hope it was a good party anyway
Glad to make you laugh Kate! That was exactly my intention!!!
My goodness where on earth was this it sounds like zone 5 or something for as many connections as you needed! 0_0
What a story! Felt with you every step of the way, poor thing. Sure, you laugh about it now, but at the time must have been SO frustrating. At least you didn’t lose your sense of humour in the end 🙂