Frugal Folly

My wife, Linda, is in charge of reservations for accommodations and restaurants when we visit Paris.  That is because of her fluency in the French language and her extensive knowledge of France – all a result of one semester of junior college French.  For the last four or five trips she has booked us in the Hotel Brighton, even though she has varied therestaurant selections. So, it was with great interest I read the Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel Newsletter article on alternative accommodations.  I have no quarrel with the Brighton- location, charm, view, and friendly personnel make it a great place to stay – but the word “budget” piqued my curiosity. Linda was working on creating an acrostic- one of her hobbies; the other is conjugating French verbs- when I brought her customary afternoon cup of hot, herbal tea.  Usually I go on about my house cleaning, but this day I wanted to tell her about my discovery. I plunged right into it, “Honey, this article I was reading- ‘Alternative Accommodations’- said we could easily save 25 to 50 percent on a room in one and two star hotels versus a three star like the Brighton.  Let’s see.  Twenty five percent of 147 Euros would be–” “One or two star hotel!” she interrupted.  “That means sharing a common bathroom down the hall with total strangers from four or five rooms!  Well, you can just forget that nutty idea.  Sharing the bath with one other human being is all my nerves can stand.” “And, also,” she continued, “usually that type of hotel is miles from the salons and shops I frequent- not to mention the fine restaurants.  The cost for a taxi for that distance would just about kill you; and I am not about to ride the RER or Metro in my designer gowns. No, forget it!” “The article also mentions the high hotel charge for breakfast–” “Petit dejeuner,” Linda interjected. “Petit dejeuner, OK. Anyway, rather than getting that tray in the room like you always do, the article says we can save by going out to a nearby cafe for breakf– ah, petit dejeuner.” “Sort pour le petit dejeuner? Mon Dieu!”  I think she said.  “You know I don’t function well until I have my coffee and toilet in the morning.  Are you really suggesting running the risk of my not starting a day at my best?” She continued with, “And no tray in the room would mean no miniature Bonne Maman jellies.  And that would mean you couldn’t save the extras to pass off on our friends as souvenirs.  And that would mean you’d have to spend a few Euros buying souvenirs.  How about your savings now?” “Well, how about a rental apartment?”  I went on.  “The article described the advantages of having your own little home away from home right there in the city of lights.  You know instead of just a bedroom, we could have a living room and a–” “Kitchen?  If you think I would put up with your cooking just so you could save a Euro or two you have really gone off half-cocked.  It is Paris! Paris, where all those wonderful chefs are always preparing those gourmet delights.  Paris, where dining has been raised to an art form.  You in the kitchen in Paris?  Etes-vous fou?” I figured it might be wise to not even mention hostels.  After the way my bride had reacted the other suggestions, the word hostel just might evoke more severe emotion. And to be honest, the way the article described that option; it didn’t really appeal a whole lot to me.  For example: “You share your room with strangers.  You’re all crammed into asex-segregated dorm room onto cots or bunk beds”; and, “Big problem is noise- a cacophony of involuntary bodily noises.”  Whoa, Nellie– now that would bring on one of Linda’s masterpiece hissy fits! So, instead I said, “Well, Hon, I just thought some variety, such as the article mentioned, might be kinda adventurous and fun.” “Adventurous?  Fun?  Listen, Buster.  The only reason you are bringing up such stuff is because you are cheap- cheap- cheap.” “Now my little song bird,” I said, “I could take umbrage with that. I might be frugal, but–” “You can umbrage all you want to.  But, ‘frugal’ is just a nice way to say cheap, and right now I am not in a nice mood.” “And another thing,” she went on, “If you think there is the slightest chance for kissy-kissy, hanky-panky, yum-yum in one of those ‘alternative accommodations’ you have lost your cotton picking senses- what little you had left!” “Well, my little sweet precious, since you put it that way, and you seem pretty sure about it, I think the ole Brighton sounds real good to me.  And, heck, hang the expense, next time we’re there lets get something from the room mini-bar.”     Bonjour Paris is pleased to have Don Andrews as a contributor.
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