The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Also Some Pocket Lint, a Jump Drive, and 35 Centimes

Emptying my mental pockets of mental crumpled Post-It notes before heading to NC. I have a great many things to do--it's also the tax deadline day for overseas residents, fun fun fun--so this will probably be the most incoherent and noncohesive Frogmarch post ever. Apologies in advance.

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Note to self--Things to remember while in America:
  • People tip in restaurants. Waiters may become agitated if you sit at a table for three hours then leave no tip.
  • Though an accepted, even expected national pastime in France, openly leering at college girls in Chapel Hill could lead to your being arrested. Or maced.
  • Do not bisou other men. Bisou women with extreme caution (see above).
  • Do not point at the fat people.
  • When entering a store in the US, it is not necessary to find an employee to say "Bonjour" to. One is not required to do this before shopping.
  • Try not to bore people with endless, pointless anecdotes about France.
  • Read that last one again.
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Note to the Cleveland Cavaliers--
Dear Cavs: You don't know me, and I don't really know you, as I haven't paid attention to your team since you had Brad Daugherty back in the late '80s. But may I be so bold as to ask a a favor--that you win even one lousy game in the NBA finals so the series won't be over by the time I'm back in the States? So I can watch even one game on American TV instead of on a 3x3 window on a computer monitor, at 9PM instead of 3AM, and in English instead of Chinese? I know it's a lot to ask, but come on! They've got a French point guard, for Pierre's sake. Try making fun of his clothes, or suggest that French cuisine is inferior (e.g., they have cheese and they have French fries, but why do they not have cheese fries?). Just a suggestion. Kthxbye.

[Edit: Thanks for nuttin'. Jerks.]

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So, did anything happen on The Sopranos?

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Things to do today:
  • Pick up US greenbacks at bank.
  • Peel bands off Cuban cigars so they'll make it through customs.
  • Begin composing lengthy, detailed instructions for housesitter en Francais.
  • Try to remember PINs for US bank cards.
  • Check limits on baggage weight (for return trip).
  • Write out request to get deposit back from Boog's school.
  • Download kiddee videos to iPod for flight.
  • Sign and fax POA form for accountant in US.
  • Leave out-of-office phone message and obnoxious I'm-on-vacation-and-you're-not note on office door.

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I was originally against the idea of returning to the US for a vacation this year. Airfare is incredibly expensive, and besides, I'd rather spend my vacation time going someplace I've never been (Spain, Italy, etc.) than to a place where I lived most of my life. It's only been a little over a year, anyway. What kind of a wimp can't be away from his hometown for a year without going back? It's not like I'm stationed in Baghdad away from my family or something--that's real hardship, not the petty annoyances you've been hearing me whine about.

But a few things broke our way: I turned out to have even more vacation time than I thought (we'll still have enough to go to Spain this winter), and I found that my employer will pay for Boog's school next year, saving us about, oh, 6000 euros. So I caved. And I am looking forward to the trip, no doubt.

But you can't go home again, and you can't step into the same river twice, and all that. Will I see my home with different eyes? Stay tuned. I'll try to post a few times from the road and let you know how it's going.

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