March 21, 2005

Hi, I Am Over Here...

Forget what my brain looks like on crack, this is what my ass looks like dragging a doobie of jetlag with a cold while trying to start a job…

I am back in Paris, which seems surreal as I was here a while ago in Brussels and San Francisco in between. My brain says it is way past Christmas, so it refuses to wrap these kinds of concepts. It is no surprise either, that my ass draggeth badly! After one 24 hour travel leg (involving a 30 degree change) followed by 4 days with 3 hours sleep a day, my jacket being “left” in the airport shuttle, plus another 22 hour travel leg back then straight off the plane to catch the train, dropping off luggage and into the office… all with a stuffed up nose, sinus pressurized headache, hacking cough, superpower lugie manufacturing and launching capabilities and sore throat- it makes sense.

First and foremost, I want to say thanks to everyone who supported me. Whether it was listening to me rant like an utter lunatic, fielding a paranoid call, sending a nice thought, leaving a comment, making me smile and laugh or telling me I could face this crap. You are all wonderful.

The kindness extended by knit bloggers (and readers of knit blogs) in the community was amazing. Terry in SF and Miss Eggplant emailed me info on SF yarn stores. Terry upped the ante, being so kind as to get me a gift certificate to Imaginknit! At this point I had entered the tenth ring of Consular Hell. I was switching from a weekend trip to a “you will not be home for 11 more days trip” trip, in the blink of an eye.

This was where the blessings of this trip began. I was going to stay with friends, the weather was GORGEOUS, and it is San Francisco. Then the very kind, but blogless, Lizabeth decided to take pity on me. Normally I am not one to take or give pity, but when it comes in the form of Koigu… I say ok! Susie sent me a book. And to top it all off the divine Emma herself sent me a RAOK that arrived while I was gone.

I put out the SOS in Brussels. I scrambled to find a “reasonably priced” ticket- 4 days before departure… I scrambled to make paperwork/justifications appear where they were not before. Then these Consular fuckers go and think they are thespians- they put on a performance of Jekyll and Hyde. Tink is NOT impressed and she sure as fuck is NOT entertained, in fact she is extending an ultimatum. You son of a bitches want to play Jekyll and Hyde, Tink is going to let loose the Pandora’s box of the many and ugly faces of Sybil.

So in a bit of a daze and not letting myself think about things I flew out, with quaking hands. I landed (about 2 steps away from deaths door, loosing my voice and having told off more than one rude person in Newark). I did the jet lag limbo and a few hours later I put those applications together. I walked through China Town to the Consulate. I talked to the nice man, he said I had the complete application and sent me to sit in a chair.

The chair of hyperventilation! You want me to wait MORE… I thought I had avoided the great white bullet. Shit, the lady goes to talk to him and they are pointing at the screen. Why does she have to do that?? Cause the experience would not be complete without heart palpitations Tink!

I know most people say hey- if there is anyone I want to throw into the fire who can think quick on her feet and pull all the shit together managing to come out without 3rd degree burns, it is you Tink. Well Tink would like to tell you all that while she has decided she will take that as a compliment, she’d prefer it if we left that whole FIRE bit out of the equation for the next say… 70 years. Tink has prematurely aged herself 30 years over the past 3 weeks. She may have found her first gray hair. And really she wants it abundantly clear, in case anyone gets confused, that she wants NO MORE FIRE AT ALL, just dull and boring dirt.

Then the visa lady calls me up and says I have some questions for you. Oh I am prepared with the truth and fibs to anything you could ask… Bien sur, just please don’t judge me compared to that guy before me. You know the one who writes books on "French History," him who shouted at you in English when you answered his question about what a national police report is - telling him that he needed to get an FBI criminal clearance. Yes that one, the one that pointed out in haut voix that the FBI is not a national police, it is the F-B-I. Thank you for that illuminating elucidation. In case you did not know he is the next Einstein. I don’t want to live up to that standard. And then after a slight clarification of why I have played the visa merry go round, she says the magic words- Ok I am going to issue your visa. It was all I could do to restrain myself from snatching it and RUNNING. Instead I quite literally skipped out the office.

POOF- there went the whole world up and off my shoulders. Atlas, I chuck thy globe. I no longer am the star of the one ring circus with that monkey on my back. I HAVE MY VISA. I walked around the corner and stormed the Banana Republic. I tried things on and danced in the fitting room. I looked at knitting books. I had a BAGEL with lox spread. I headed back to my friends flat. Wheeee there is a package of Koigu for me waiting there from Lizabeth! I am so blessed at this point, that I loose my voice during dinner that night and I forego Belgian beer for this… I think I started resenting my cold at that point.

I slept little and went out to brunch the next morning and wandered around town. Walking LOTS. I went to a bar in Berkeley with my other local friend and her friends. I had a cider, which I probably shouldn’t have, and I was not good company. I had no voice therefore in an Irish Pub at 11pm you couldn’t hear me.

I had been awake since 1 am and at 11:30 some guy came up me startled the hell out of my just head nodding self to pull an entertaining pick line on me. “Hey do you work at the Oakland Library?” Sorry no I don’t. “Well you look just like someone who does, where do you work?” I don’t live here. “What?” I don’t live here. I turn to my friend and say it is time to take the cranky crazy girl who is pulling the Bezerkeley freaks home.

Unfortunately due to time and other things I only got a few second scan through Artfibers. I didn’t head home with anything but I did decide I really like that Kyoto yarn! On Sunday I hit the Imagiknit, where I had a gift certificate! I saw all sorts of yarns, I was in yarn overwhelm. Ones I had and others I hadn’t heard of. I wish I had more money, or had a credit card (I know I am a freak for not having one). I wasn’t sure if I would have enough in my US accounts to get me back and I only have funds in a French bank- which it seems I need to use a cat o’ nine tails to whip into submission so that they will finally replace my card.

So there was some shopping but not lots. I got Lorna Laces Shepard in Gold Hills. I figure I will start stocking up on socks cause my bet is they are going to be my commuting knitting. But I wrote down colors and yarns I had heard of, touched and liked.

As a whole and all points given, I have to say the trip was a complete success and pretty damn enjoyable. Unfortunately I have to say there is no knitting to show for all those hours of transport or anything else. I felt like shit, I drank copious amounts of water (as astute friends commented "shit the camel pees"), I read a bit, I watched the movies and I slept. I guess since I was relieved from of my stress I took the tension knitting down a notch.

So we are living the wonderful life: I am dollar bankrupt, sucking down vitamin I and C like no one's business, popping little reds sniffers, taking tabs of Echinacea, and topping it off with shots of celebratory cough syrup. But none of that matters. You see, I BEAT French bureaucracy. Again! I have my job, I am staying in Paris, and I am still standing. I gave Life the smack down, and yes Kitten, I threw in a swing at her for you too :)

Posted by Stinkerbell at March 21, 2005 11:33 AM | TrackBack