Paris Not So Long Ago: Night. Rain. Fog. Confusion. Savoir Faire.

This is, I imagine, telling tales out of school, but tell I must. It’s a good tale, which is the best of all possible reasons, and its star, my friend K., is too shy to write it herself, although I have pestered her about it for years. So there you are, as the British say. And here it is. It was back in the day, if you will, when K. made her first visit to Paris. It was all that she’d expected, all that she’d hoped, and she was eager to tell a friend who lived in Paris and had invited her for dinner. And she does, but that’s not important. Nothing happens in this tale until after dinner. It’s very late when K. says goodnight to her friend and starts back to her hotel. It is now raining. The rain is sudden and soaking; it comes down in sheets. It rains chats et chiens, and before she knows it K. is sopping and her eyeglasses are spattered and fogged. She gets lost and can’t find her Metro station. She gets lost again and can’t find her way back to her friend’s apartment. She wanders about, getting nowhere at all and nothing but wetter, when, mirabile dictu, a car pulls to the curb a few feet in front of her. When it stops, the back door opens and a man gets out. He sprints to the door of his apartment building and is seen no more. K. sprints too—straight for the heaven-sent vehicle—and manages to grab the door handle just in time. Getting in, she blurts out the name of her hotel. The driver nods and pulls out. This is a Whew! moment. K. is relieved, mightily relieved, until she takes a moment to wipe her eyeglasses, for it is then she notices something strange: there is no meter in this cab. Then she notices that there are two men in the front, and that neither of them in the least resembles a cab driver. K’s mind races as she wonders—What have I got myself into? Who are these strange men? Where are they taking me? Is this a cab at all? What will happen next? What will I do?—when the car comes to an anticlimactic halt in front of her hotel. Hardly pausing for a second whew, K. leans forward and rummages in her purse, asking the fare. The driver turns in her direction and says, “There is no charge, mademoiselle. The man we let off just before you got in is one of the most important politicians in France. We are his security detail.” While her jaw was dropping he added, “Enjoy your visit to Paris.” This is a lovely story. It is the sort of thing that should happen to every traveler, if only once. And perhaps its appearance here will move K. to drop the shyness and get herself to the keyboard. She has a marvelous story about a vacation misadventure in which her niece or grandniece displayed virtuoso skill in using the pluperfect, despite being only six years old. ©2011 Bill Marsano Photo credits: ©VinothChandar, ©OllieCrafoord and ©Robert Scoble “Scobleizer” MedjetAssist is a medical evacuation membership program that arranges medical transfer to the hospital of your choice should you require hospitalization when more than 150 miles from home. When your emergency meets transport criteria, Medjet will arrange medical transfer to the hospital of your choice at no additional cost beyond your membership fee. Short-term coverage starts at $95–less than the cost of an Urgent Care co-pay at home for most of us. Please read this: MedjetAssist   We’re told it rains sometimes in Paris. Really? Great! That’s when you wow ’em with your Caillebotte umbrella with Impressionist Paris scene      

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