Mirrored stances at the stunning World Press Photo 2010 exhibition, Oudekerk Church, Amsterdam.
This weekend I had such fun at the brocante at Vanves, followed by a lovely brasserie lunch with Claudia and Claudia II from New York. I spent Sunday afternoon with Alexandra, a wonderful writer and witty blogging friend from Portland. We had lunch on Ile Saint-Louis, shopped for gifts for her family and friends, then had dessert - tarts and tea - at the charming la Charlotte de l'isle. It is a tiny place, but big on homemade taste!
Overheard conversation in a Paris restaurant: An American woman making no attempt to speak a single word of French, when addressing the waiter: "What do you guys have that's like pretzels or nuts or chips?" The bemused waiter: "We guys don't have pretzels or those things. How about frites or a croque monsieur, ham and cheese?" The woman agreed, as long as it would go with her requested "large glass" of Sancerre.
The three teenagers accompanying her looked mortified. In French, they asked the waiter for a menu. The woman looked at them incredulously. "You know French?" "Duh, Mom, we studied it last year," one boy responded.
Returning from Amsterdam, I overheard an American man on the train, talking loudly on the phone to his bank. "Can you let my wife have $1,200? No, I don't want her to have her own access to the account, because she'd spend too much. I want to control the money." (And her!) "No, I don't want to make it easier for her," he continued. "But I don't want a big panic when I get home on Tuesday. So better give her some money now."
Then the guy phoned a car repair shop and demanded an explanation for the crack in his wife's car's oil filter. He insisted they call him back within two hours to provide details.
Next, he phoned his assistant, who was on a holiday cruise with her mother. He patronisingly told her she's "such a sweetheart" to take time to talk while she's on holiday, then spent nearly 45 minutes asking her questions about work. Such a control freak! Bet his wife is glad he's away.
A sudden reversal backwards in time
During the Cuban Missle Crisis in the 1960s, American children were warned from certain pulpits that the Russians might invade and burn all the books and Bibles. No one suspected the enemy within: conservatives intent on revising history in the pages of school textbooks, slanting the truth with their own narrow-minded prejudices. A sad day for America and especially for Texas schoolchildren.
Of course, many school text publishers are based in Texas. Does this mean the Texas board's paranoid version of history will spread throughout the States?
In other news, why does this man still have a job?
Photo of spiral staircase and chandelier, Oudekerk, Amsterdam.