Defending my Corner Fright

As usual on the weekends, I have an alarm set to go off at 10:30. Even if we get in at two, I can still get about eight hours of sleep, and we can still have breakfast before 11… so Sheila and I had breakfast at 10:30… but not before I fielded a couple quick emergencies, one from my mom to make sure I wasn’t flying home on October 20th via American Airlines (I told her she was only allowed to get suspicious if it was Jet Blue), and another from Joan who was out wandering around the La Defense area by herself. We had our breakfast, and I went back to my room to find that Joan had made it home just fine, so we didn’t get to go on a recon mission to find her. Sheila and I got dressed, then waited to find out when Kyle wanted to meet up and figure out what to do for lunch, then what to do following lunch… All I knew was that I had a monologue to finish memorizing… I remembered that the Sleep Stream app that I use had a few different binaural settings, one happened to be “learning retention,” so I pulled out L’Avare, turned to the second page of my monologue, and went through the whole thing in my head while I did my makeup, referring to the page next to the mirror when I needed to. It worked much better than I had originally anticipated. I got about half of the dicey part of the monologue down before I had eyeliner on. Score one for technology…

Kyle met up with us on our corner since we figured there’d be more places to eat that were open on a Sunday near our area. The Carrefour was still open when we walked by it, but we didn’t feel like going inside to get anything. We went over to the Traiteur Asiatique that we now frequent for their plat du jour special (rice or noodles with your choice of meat, 6,00 euros without a drink). I tried the duck dish they had over Thai rice for a change of pace. The duck was a little chewy, but it was still pretty good. I figure I should have all the duck I can possibly consume while I’m here just because I know I’m not going to be able to find it as often when I go back to America. We sat there, ate, and chatted about all sorts of things for at least an hour, namely about all of the inside jokes we have to pick on each other about. These jokes became a recurrence throughout the day since Sheila and I seem to have a war going on over who has the most jokes (and this isn’t a war that either of us wants to “win”). I have a lot of little jokes that get brought up… the puddle from yesterday, The Scottish Play, “But it’s Thursday!” (forgetting that the metro closes at 1 AM on weekdays)… the list goes on. Kyle wanted to go home to work on some homework, but Sheila and I wanted to do some exploring. We convinced Kyle to take us up one of the streets that’s on the way from our house to his that he explored the other day…
On the way there, Kyle managed to get all of us nearly killed. Kyle has a penchant for using crosswalks when the light is red. This irks me. He picks on me because I don’t like crossing the streets unless the light is green. I have to cross on red a lot because I hang out with these people… So Kyle notices that we have a red crossing light, and the cars have a red light as well, so he starts to cross, and I reluctantly follow him, and Sheila’s behind me. A car honks at us, and I start to freak out, Sheila runs back to the side of the street we started on. I have no idea what’s going on, but it turns out the cars just got a green light and they were not happy with the fact that we were in the crosswalk! So ALL OF THEM start honking at us, I start panicking, Kyle takes his last couple steps across the street, I’m running like I’m being shot at, and Sheila has bolted across the street (only to be followed by more horn bullets) to keep up with us. This is why we’re supposed to wait for green lights… I almost got hit by a car yesterday. That was enough for one weekend, but no… The street that we wanted to explore was really interesting. We made mental notes of what some of the restaurants served and what they’d cost so we could go back some time. Once we got to the end of the street, we noticed that there seemed to be some kind of an open air market going on, but it was starting to close up. There were all sorts of vendors… fish, meat, cheese, vegetables, fruits, flowers… even candy, clothes, and leather! I’d like to come back to the area next Sunday to see if it’s still happening and do some shopping. The street “ends” on the same street that Kyle’s usual metro stop does. We walked toward it, and noticed a monument, so Sheila and I stopped to take pictures.
As we walked closer to the metro stop, Kyle noticed a patisserie, and stopped in to get something. He got a giant piece of apricot flan (it’s more like a custard pie here than the hispanic version of flan) for only 2,20 euro! I obviously couldn’t taste it, but he and Sheila said it was delicious. After some convincing, we got Kyle to agree to ride line 1 to La Defense, which is one of it’s terminal points, and was only three stops from where we were. Sheila and I hadn’t been there before. It’s definitely an interesting place. You can see L’Arc de Triomphe from it. It’s apparently a very busy area during the week, so it was interesting (and rather tranquil) to see it on a Sunday. I was in a very good mood, so I kept wanting to walk all over the area to take pictures of everything (and to go play on something that looked like a trampoline which was supposedly only for children) which was getting on Kyle’s nerves a little. He convinced us that we could come back sometime, since there were more weekends in the semester.
View of La Défense

This is what happened when I kindly asked Kyle (and Sheila) to get out of my frame so I could take a picture…

La Grande Arche
Not everyone has a name that starts with a letter in “Disneyland” so I took full advantage of this…

Odd sculpture #1..

Odd sculpture #2…

The Carousel… that you had to pay to ride… so we didn’t ride it… 

La Pouce!
We got back on the metro and headed back to Kyle’s metro stop. We wanted to stop by MacDo, mainly just to use the restrooms. We were all a little hungry, but only a little bit, so we all got something for a snack. This was the first time I’d bought something at MacDo in France, so it was a little exciting. I had a McFlurry with M&Ms. Here, you have a few more options to customize your McFlurry. There are other candies you can put in it, including Kit Kat bars (going to stay far away from that), nuts (namely almonds), and some other candy that I didn’t recognize, can’t remember, and wasn’t going to chance. For about 20 cents more, you could add a syrup to your McFlurry, and you had four choices (chocolate, caramel, strawberry, or mango-passionfruit). I decided to stay safe. Believe it or not, it’s not plain M&M in France. Nothing is. It’s PEANUT M&M! People with nut allergies, please be careful. When you go to a vending machine and you want M&M’s, you don’t get to choose between plain and peanut. There’s just peanut. If you go to a store, sure, you can find plain M&M’s, but the top choice/flavor/whatever you call it in France seems to be peanut. Peanut M&M’s are not my favorite. I’m a plain M&M kind of girl, so I wasn’t exactly sure if I was going to like the French version of an M&M McFlurry, now featuring peanuts. Hey, America. Get with it. The Peanut M&M McFlurry is where it’s at, and you need to crumble up the M&M’s and not use the M&M minis, stop playing around. We ate, I looked at my monologue for a while (which Kyle said was “cheating” since we were supposed to have a monologue-off soon, which I said would officially happen at the corner where we usually split by his house), then Sheila and I went down to use the restrooms and decided against it. Why? We didn’t want to have to pay 50 cents to do it since we figured we could hold it for a while longer. 
We decided we’d go find the Jardin d’Acclimation which we knew was around the area somewhere… When you take the metro, certain stops will have markers underneath them with the names of monuments or famous places, and Kyle’s usual metro stop has that underneath it. While we were walking around, we found a café that’s open for lunch Monday-Saturday that looks like it has some food that’s going to be pretty gluten-free, so we plan on checking it out soon, and while Kyle and Sheila (mainly Kyle) were giving me a hard time (part of Kyle and Sheila’s master plan to “change me,” this part has to do with Mission Two: Make Claire Learn to Chill Out), Kyle came to realize that I sound exactly like Mickey Mouse when I go up an octave… which happens whenever I get excited, angry, upset, or otherwise interrupted from my normal state of being (meaning when I’m not talking)… which is all the time. I don’t think I sound like Mickey Mouse. I think Kyle sounds like Mickey Mouse when he tries to imitate me. We did find the garden, but you had to pay to get in (all of 3,00 euros). We were tired, so we said that we’d come back another day now that we knew where it was. We walked home, and when we got to the corner, Kyle remembered the monologue-off. He’d been bugging me to have one since last night, but I didn’t feel like I was prepared enough since I wasn’t quite off book. I still wasn’t, but I went over the monologue in my head as we were walking back home, and I was pretty sure I had it. Kyle said I was supposed to go first, which I didn’t understand, because the idea was that I was going to kick his butt, so why was he going to go after my performance with the first line and the last line of the same monologue that I was about to murder? “Are you going to chicken out again?” “Nope!” I set my purse down in front of Sheila and put my sunglasses inside of it, walked a few steps away, then ran up to them like I would if I were entering the scene (since that’s how this monologue is), and started it. I didn’t just recite it, I performed it. At full volume. Heads turned. I think I surprised Kyle and Sheila a bit, but more along the lines of “Oh dear, she’s drawing attention, I don’t want to be seen with her, get me out of here” than “damn she’s good.” I nailed it. By “it…” I mean the first five lines. You know when you’re watching a video on YouTube, and it hasn’t loaded all the way, and you “catch up” to that point where it stopped loading, and it just… stops? That’s what happened in my brain. I had those first five lines, right up until all of those darned questions in the monologue start happening… and that was all that loaded. I wasn’t on a stage, I was on a street corner. No one was expecting me to burst out into Harpagon’s monologue at 4 PM on a Sunday. I got… Corner Fright. Kyle took one look at me after I said “…and I forgot the rest.” then said, “Well… since Claire just said five lines and forgot the rest of her monologue… I’m gonna give it to you.” and he walked away! Bugger didn’t have anything prepared all this time… I should have known… Sheila and I walked home and I recited the monologue, interrogating street signs and fences during the parts when I was supposed to be breaking the fourth wall and interrogating the audience. I had it. I knew I did. I just need to work on it a little more tomorrow. I’m sure no one else will be completely off book either, but I feel like I have a lot more to prove because I’m… not French…
I got a chance to Skype with my boyfriend when I got home, and for some unknown reason, he actually agreed that I kind of sound like Mickey Mouse when I get all high pitched! I can’t win! Madame made a great dinner tonight. We had peas and carrots, potatoes with crème fraiche and chives, and steak. I’m kind of worried about going back to America with how I’ve grown accustomed to eating steaks here. Most people eat their steaks much closer to what we would call “rare” than anything I’ve ever seen before. As it is, I like my steaks a little on the rare side. Before I came here, I’d had some waiters tell me that health regulations required the establishment to cook my meat to a level of “doneness” that was… “more done” than I had requested. The steaks that Madame cooked tonight were red all the way through. They weren’t by any means uncooked, but I’d call them “very rare,” maybe even “still breathing.” They weren’t unsafe, I wasn’t worried about consuming them, I actually liked them that way! She told me about a chain store nearby (Simply Market) that had a bigger selection of gluten-free things than Carrefour and it happened to be cheaper. She suggested that we explore the area here a bit more (when things are open, of course) so we get a better feel for it.
I am shaking in my boots about doing my monologue tomorrow. I’m liable to puke before I do it. That’s saying something. We don’t puke in my family. If we puke, you don’t call the doctor, you call the priest, because that’s it, we’re done. I feel like I’m going to go do this monologue, and my professor is going to tell me I’m horrible. I’m just going to have to convince myself that it’s because I’ve studied a different method, and it’s not really my fault… if that’s the case. Maybe it would help if I got off the dang computer and studied it a bit more… I think I’ll do that.
On voit qu’il se travaille à dire de bons mots. Molière: Le Misanthrope.

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