Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

The good news: the shipment of my stuff from Paris finally arrived today, after four months of anxious waiting. It was all in fine shape.

The bad news: in a totally fickle, very unexpected emotional about-face, I want to send it all back.

I'm not kidding.

There are two main factors at play here. Plus a third, more minor, reason.

1. The "Won't This Sombrero Look Great at the Neighborhood Pool Party, Honey?" syndrome.

We've all done it. You travel to a foreign land, and everyone there is wearing a sombrero with red tasseled fringe, or puka shell beads or embroidered peasant blouses, and you think, "Gee, Ima gonna get me one a them," and then you carefully select and purchase just the perfect sombrero or what-have-you. You jubilantly take it home, and upon arrival in Little Rock you shake your head in disbelief. What was I thinking? you ask, And why did I really fight to place that sombrero so carefully into the overhead bin of the plane? (Or gawd forbid, you even wore it at the airport.) It is culturally out of context in your native habitat, but your foreign eyes didn't let you see it.

Well, that's not true for all of the belongings that just arrived, but... well, let's see. That adorable confituriere from the flea market that was so, so charming in my old, tiled Paris kitchen? It looks like an uninvited floozy in my Virginia dining room. So I tried placing it in every room. It just looks cheap and embarrassing.

Ditto for some of the more avant-garde items of clothing I bought in Paris or Ile de Re. Gee, an item or two of something unusual or offbeat to perk up the Paris daily mainstay attire was de rigueur... in Paris. If I wear some of this stuff here I may never get invited anywhere.

Cleavage? Spiky heels? Don't get me started. It all seemed so ...normal in Paris.

2. The "I'm Not-Over-It-Yet" factor. It's a biggie.
It's a damn good thing I'm heading to Paris in a week, because when I opened some of the boxes and unearthed items from my Paris daily ritual, I had a really hard time. As in tears, and I don't mean happy tears of reuniting with long-lost favorites.

You know what I mean. Oh, you know. Say you've broken up with a boyfriend, for example, and you're not completely over him but you forge ahead and start a new relationship with some other guy; and while that new relationship is in its tender infancy, by some stroke of nauseating ill fate, up pops the Old Flame at a weekend house party. And you can try to tell yourself til you're blue in the face that it doesn't matter, that you've moved on, but all of a sudden inside your head Barbra Streisand is belting out "The Way We Were" even though you don't like her voice: "What's too painful to ree-meh-heh-em-bah, we simply choose too-wooo foh-or-get..."

Well, blow me down if I didn't have that reaction when I unwrapped, of all things, my coffee cups. Excuse me, but how pathetic is it to have a weird, soppy emotional melt-down over four pieces of bone china?

I felt as though I were acting in the middle of some Woody Allen movie talking to a shrink, "I'm sorry Dr. Proust, I don't know what came over me. I saw those cups and saucers, and all the memories of Paris Nespresso breakfasts came flooding back and I..., I..., I...., boo-hooo-ooo-waaaah." Heroine (me) bolts out of the shrink's office blowing her nose. She doesn't even shut the door behind her.

Over coffee cups?

3. Minor factor: too much stuff. Must make placement decisions. Not easy to cope with any decision-making until factors #1 and #2 take a back seat.


David in Setouchi said...

Concerning the "sombrero facto" (love the name)...

I don't know how your house id decorated or not, but mine became a mix of France and the US when I got back, and I don't know that didn't pose me any problem, that really reflected what I felt at the moment.

For clothing, it's a bit different, I don't really wear American clothes in France, for obvious reasons... ;-)

Chris said...

It must be hard to readjust to living here when you have lived there. I don't blame you at all for an emotional outburst. I would probably do the same thing.

The Birthday Girl said...

I'll take some of it!! (If it will help qualm emotions)

Junosmom said...

Give it time, cherie.

Clare said...

I can imagine how hard this readjustment is. After living THERE you could not possibly be the same person HERE.
Hope you enjoy your visit back!!

Starman said...

Well, the solution is obvious.....move back to France. *sigh* If only!

Harriet said...

I enjoy your posts on Paris. I've never lived there but have visited quite a number of times and have yet to get my fill. During/After your upcoming visit to Paris, I hope that you will write many newsy posts: how it feels to be back in the City of Light, things that you see with "new" eyes now that you are not living there.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Thank you, everyone, for your words of comfort.

It was odd, about the coffee cups, the cutlery, the other household items. I saw them and said "You don't belong HERE, you belong in my life in Paris." Anyway, Junosmom's advice is good. It will take some time.

I'll write lots from Paris, promised.

And Birthday Girl... you know where the closets are!

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

I say go ahead, bring some spiky heels and cleavage to suburban America! What with the global economic crisis, we need something to shake things up, right?

Going Like Sixty said...

Sorry to disagree with all the other folks, but you belong in Paris. Every post you wrote was a little love note to life there.

When you go back for your "visit" will you start the wheels rolling to move back home?

I hope so. I like your donkey posts, et al but we got donkeys in KY. :-)

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