take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A blast from the past and an unfortunate incident 

"He's the one I told you about. The one from Lyon," Big whispered as we took our seats.
"Ah, yes, I remember."

We were at a local restaurant for Big's Christmas do. We had been placed at the very end of a long, rectangular table, opposite each other. My name tag said "Mrs" Big (their inverted commas). On Big's right was the Spanish teacher, on my left, the French assistant. In an Italian restaurant. We were discussing what we had ordered. The French assistant noted my careful Italian pronunciation of some of the menu items.

"Do you speak Italian?"
"Oh, just a bit."
"What's "spinaci?"
He looked blank. I was feeling generous.
He looked at me with a gleeful expression.
"You speak French?"
"Um yes..."

Big cut in at this point:

"She lived in Lyon," he nodded at him, knowingly.
I confirmed that this was true.
"I did what you're doing now. I was the English assistant in a school in Lyon, back in... 1993," I told him, amazed that it was really that long ago.

And so the reminiscing began.

I learned that "La fête des lumières" now extends over three four days, rather than just the one "in my day". We talked about how the airport had changed its name from "Satolas" to "St Exupéry", yet the shuttle bus was still known as the "Satobus". We concluded that it was a very small world indeed when we discovered that my boyfriend and I had, on numerous occasions, driven through his small town and past his house on our way to a beauty spot to the West of Lyon.

That year I spent in Lyon was a year of firsts. First time on an aeroplane, first time on a motorbike, first time camping, first time I'd spent more than a week in a foreign country, first time in a canoe, first time I'd pursued a man rather than waiting to be seduced. In that one year, I learned more about the French people and their language than in the ten previous years at school and university. A truly amazing year in my life which I won't forget. It was such a pleasure to stir up those memories again, even if some of them were bittersweet.

Big and I walked home through the park in a light-hearted mood. I needed a wee, but the public toilets were closed to deter unsavoury types from gathering there. I would be okay - home was only a few minutes away.

As we walked up the avenue towards the main road, I suddenly felt myself sliding forward in an uncontrolled fashion. I gasped, but managed to stay upright.

"What happened?" he asked, holding onto my arm.

I peered on the ground for a sign of what had caused me to slip. I was concerned that it was dog shit, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Ladies and gentlemen, it was a bona fide banana skin. That cliché of slapstick comedy. But what was worse was that, during the shock of it, given the toilet predicament, a little bit of wee came out.

When I told him, Big was beside himself. Between guffaws, he said:

"You've *got* to blog about that!"

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