I am not a huge fan of the French so much as of their food, cheese and wine. But I imagine one of the cool things about being a Frenchman is that you can be a real bastard with a terrible attitude and a bad mood and it is considered part of your charm. Instead of thinking, "what a mopey jerk," people, Americans in particular, might actually think you're sort of adorable in some twisted way.
This occured to me as I was pulling into a parking stall in front of my apartment building today. Well, more of a red zone suitable for parking than a "stall," per se. Which normally might have elicited some sneers or raised eyebrows from the concerned Berkeley citizen types passing by. As it happened, I had the window down, with one arm out and Yves Montard's "Rue St. Vincent," off the Rushmore soundstrack, playing kind of loud on my stereo.
So I backed my dirty, beat up Geo into the spot, rolled up the window, turned off the ignition, frowned, grabbed my suit jacket -- I was wearing an all-to-dark black one in the middle of July -- grimaced and grunted as I struggled out of the car, dragging my bag out with me. I slammed the door behind me and, looking none too happy or pleasant, turned to walk down the street. As I turned, a young woman sitting with a male friend caught my eye--she was staring right at me with a big ole smile. Why was she smiling at an angry, frustrated dude who, trust me, was looking not so good under the beating sun? Easy. She totally thought I was French.
I smiled back just enough to keep up the illusion -- a frustrated French dude isn't going to give up the scowl that easy -- and went on my way. Today I am queueing up Joe Dassin's "Les Champs Elysees." There is nothing like grump without guilt. Vive le France. Or somesuch.
Ryan Tate presents, The Guy Branum Show, starring Guy Branum, a Guy Branum production.
Guy is a force to be reckoned with. The former Berkeley triple-major (English, History, Poli Sci) ASUC Senator, Daily Cal columnist, law student, and now California Bar Member and stand up comic extraoridnaire, once had his picture taken with me by an AP photographer, and it went on the wire across the country. Long story.
Now he's got some pretty ingenious stuff on his blog. He writes just like he talks, or should I say he sometimes talks as though he's written it down first, and I mean that in a flattering way. Don't forget to check out the Google keywords at the bottom.