Something I didn’t realize about Paris when I temporarily relocated here three weeks ago was that it’s literally the worst place on earth. I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere more inconvenient, more miserable, and more burdened by seemingly arbitrary rules in my entire life. But it is pretty, I’ll give it that.
One of the things I find most annoying about France is that between 3pm and 7pm all the restaurants shut down so that everyone can take a nap. This doesn’t make much sense to me, because between 3pm and 7pm tends to be the time when I want to eat the most. The other time of the day I tend to want to eat–being someone who gets up quite late and doesn’t go to bed until about 4am–is around 10pm. However, all the restaurants here close at 10 so that is also impossible. So basically you get two windows during which to eat: between 12pm and 3pm, and between 7pm and 10pm. Now, coming from America–a place where we value a thing called freedom of choice–I don’t like abiding by these arbitrary, irritating rules. (Not to mention that on Sundays every single thing in Paris is closed, so it’s impossible to do literally anything at all.) And then, even when you do manage to make it to a restaurant during the five seconds a day they are open, the service is so abysmal and slow that the process of eating takes two hours. It’s like, don’t these people have lives? When I have lunch, I want to get in and get out quickly, so that I can get back to whatever pseudo-important thing I was doing beforehand. But here people prefer to just sit around and eat leisurely while drinking a bottle of wine (hence the need for a post-lunch adult naptime).
Also, I’m sorry but I can’t deal with the food here. I know French food has a great rep, but literally all they eat is bread, cheese and meat. How are they not fatter? Also, there are almost no vegetarian options anywhere, because apparently people here are just so obsessed with meat that they need to eat piles of it with every meal. Literally, even when you order a salad it comes with secret meat hidden underneath the leaves. The other day I was at a restaurant with some friends and we ordered a “mixed plate” (i.e. a plate of bread, cheese and meat, obviously), and I thought, ‘Oh that’s fine, I’ll just eat the cheese’, but then when the plate arrived it was laid out in such a way that the cheese was located underneath the meat, like literally hidden underneath a giant meat fort, causing all the cheese to be covered in the juices of animal fat, and subsequently taste sort of like meat as well.
And while I’m complaining about restaurants here, I should also mention that they are very expensive. In New York you can get a nice, healthy breakfast–eggs, sautéed kale, sweet potatoes, whole grain pita, beat juice–for like $12. Here they give you a pile of carbs and lard and it costs three times that. And in New York I can have that nice, healthy, cheap-ish breakfast any fucking time I want, and the waiter serves it to me with a smile, rather than angrily throwing the plate down in front of me in disgust, as if it was some massive inconvenience that they had to bring the food in the first place–because why on earth would someone imagine they could come to a restaurant and expect to be served food, ugh! (And if you’re wondering why I don’t avoid all this stress by cooking food at home, it’s because I just don’t like to do that, and part of the reason why I pay extortionate rent prices to live in cities is so that I’m afforded the convenience and luxury of having my food cooked for me at every meal. So there.)
Another thing that’s confusingly third-worldey about Paris is that is really hard to find the internet. I moved into a new Air BnB apartment last week, and the girl whose house it is neglected to mention that she does’t have wifi. How is that even possible? How do people live like this? When I called her about it (in a panic), she explained that she uses something called “Free Wifi,” which is the free wireless internet that exists all throughout Paris. That surprised me, because nothing in life comes for is free, right? But after many attempts over the past week to make the Free Wifi work, I’ve realized that its free-ness is rooted in the fact that it completely fails to function. In the midst of my mental breakdown I knocked on the doors of a few of my neighbors, to see if I could maybe borrow a wifi password, but they all live in third-world internetless homes as well. And practically no cafes have wifi either. The only places you can count on having the internet are McDonalds and Starbucks. Traj. As a result, over past week I’ve been forced to work from McDonalds, however the McDonalds wifi firewalls my blog (lol) so blogging has obviously been quite difficult. In order to upload things to my blog I have to crouch on the street outside of a hotel near my apartment and steal their wifi. Unglamorous. However, the absolute low of my trip thus far was yesterday, when I had to interview someone over Skype, and I had to hide in the corner of a McDonalds with my head and laptop hidden under a tent I made out of my coat, in order to block out the sound of screaming children. Kill me now. Oh, and then afterward I got an email from a stranger to my Slutever email being like, “Hey, did I just see you in a Paris McDonalds by any chance?” The shame…
Me crouching in the street, desperate for wifi Conducting a Skype interview under a coat tent at McDonalds. Traj.
Another thing that’s been adding to my recent stress is that while in Paris I’m living with my girlfriend. I obviously love being with her–why would we be dating otherwise?–but I’ve never lived with anyone I’ve dated before, and as I expected it’s quite exhausting and nightmarish. It’s just weird to be around someone so much. And it seems like after a while, no matter how much you like a person, it’s impossible not to find every single thing they do infuriating. Admittedly, my gf is someone who is generally very easy going and always in a good mood, so it’s hard to find her annoying. However, it’s gotten to the point where I’ve begun to find her easy-goingness and general positivity the most infuriating things about her. Like for example, if we go for a walk, she’ll constantly stop to stare at things–random walls, broken windows, puddles–and then just sigh contently and comment on the obscure beauty of the world around us. This obviously makes me want to smash her head in and scream about how ignorant she is for not being able to see how disgusting and annoying life is and how mutant-like most people are. However, whenever I say this sort of stuff to her, she just laughs casually and tries to Instagram me.
Another scary thing about living with the person you’re dating is that after a while you become really gross. You stop caring about looking good and saying interesting or funny things, and just regress into this repulsive, cave-person version of yourself (i.e. the person you are when you’re alone). For example, I’ve almost completely stopped showering. And I don’t even care because it’s like, “Whatever, we’re still going have sex anyway. But actually we probably won’t because I fucking hate you and think you’re the most annoying person on earth. But also please don’t leave the room because I’ll be lonely without you.” Thus is the essence of living with the person you’re dating, in a nutshell.
Sigh. It’s only when I leave New York that I realize how amazing it is to live in a 24-hour city full of friendly people, where kale is served in almost every restaurant. And I’m sorry if I sound like a whiny bitch but, ya know, life can be really hard sometimes. Also, where is Louis Garrel? Doesn’t he live in Paris? I haven’t seen him once.