Sunday, 14 March 2010

Isle Sur la Sorgue

Isle Sur la Sorgue, France

We made it all ten days at Marie's parents without any causalities. It was close though, as I think everyone probably thought about strangulation at one point or another. Marie probably thought about strangling the most people. But that's understandable. She has her reasons. You don't move to another continent without being thoroughly fed up with the one you left. Me, I mostly thought about strangling Marie in the beginning as she reacted to every parental comment and inquisition with the defensive ardor and disgust of Joan of Arc about to be torched. But after a few days I settled into to playing the role of the deaf mute. Really, you should have seen it! I should've won an Oscar! I acted like I didn't even know what my own name was!... I just sat back and settled into the routine... Her parents are really big on routine... which makes sense why Marie hates it so much - routine... We settled into it eventually, no sense buckin' the tide... It was fine really, and mainly consisted of eating then driving somewhere, anywhere really... point was to get out... The eating part was what they took the most seriously though... coffee, bread and jam in the morning (on Saturdays and Sundays we had croissants!)... Marie's mom had it all out and ready every morning when we got up... which was a little late for their taste... around ten usually... which is early for us, but was still considered by them to be monstrously lazy... at least that's what Marie said... they just smiled at me... After that we ate at 1pm and 8pm sharp! They ate with the fanatical regularity of praying monks!... And not just any little old meal!... No way!... We ate like kings!... with a sharply regulated order, not to be deviated from ever or for any reason! We started off with bread and salad... and bread goes on the table!... not on the plate like I made the mistake of doing!... after we mopped up the bread and salad, the main course was served... lamb or duck or chicken or beef or pig!... and potatoes!... sometimes french fried, sometimes au gratin, other times fried in garlic and olive oil!... or maybe there'd be asparagus or radishes or lentils or couscous or beans!... mounds of them!... They just kept stuffin' me... It seemed to give them great pleasure to stuff me... I didn't mind... I just nodded and licked my lips and said mmmm... I'm a good sport when it comes to eating... Then there was the cheese plate with Roquefort, Gruyere, Camembert, Chevre etc.etc... and always bread! and you don't put your cheese on the table with the bread, like I found out!... After that, yogurt with sugar... and wine or beer throughout! Jesus did they think we were queer with our non-alcoholic beers! We were really puttin' a cramp in their style with that non-alcoholic shit! I think her dad even called me a pussy once! Jesus! It was rough not drinkin' there! Believe me, I wanted to drink them dry a couple times!... but I behaved... Then after the cheese and yogurt we had the coffee and chocolate! Christ it was good! Everyday was like that! No joke! Each meal as big as the next! Waves of food! We spent days at the table without anybody batting an eye!... No shit!... Then a drive or two to a castle, a picturesque little town mixed in... there's tons of castles and picturesque little towns around there... On the last day there they pulled out all the stops!... her dad was cooking giant shrimps on the bbq... Marie's Uncle, who lived right next door, then invited us over to his afternoon bbq with a group of his friends... He had tiny skewered birds that he was cooking over the fire dripped in lard... The little birds slid right off and were then eaten with bread, always bread!... whole little birds!... little fried wings, bones, skull and all! Everything but the beak! I wasn't so hot on it at first... then the uncle sucked one down, went and got a picture of his mother, Marie's grandmother, with a shotgun slung over her shoulder that she used to kill the little suckers with!... I still wasn't sure about it... Then one of the old women at the table ripped off the beak of one of those little bastards, bit into the skull, looking at me dead in the eye!... a challenge!... I sure as shit ate one after that... I ate two, three, four! as all the old men gave me the thumbs up... peer pressure's a motherfucker... I wasn't gonna be called a pussy again by some French fuckers!... Not bad either! Crunchy! Those brittle little bones go down with ease, with all that lard and bread, always bread!... And that skull!... like butter... After that we went back next door to the parents and finished off the giant googly eyed shrimps that her father had cooked, out on the patio under the sun... Surrounded by the by arid yet green rolling landscape interspersed with lavendar and streams I felt like we were in the Texas Hill Country! Not bad!... I almost cried as I thought about the grueling work that most likely lay ahead of me on the horizon... Tears filling my eyes, wondering how I could get out of the looming manual labor torture, in the vague ill formed future of mine... manual labor's no joke, man...


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