Day 187: Hazy Shade of Winter.

 Illustration by Fifi Flowers

I'm back in France and it's official; winter is here. It's gloomy, bone-chilling and damp. The vin chaud vendors and Christmas cheer is what's keeping me from feeling slightly wistful since I just came from golden autumn scenic bliss to now grey gloom and doom. I'm trying to fight the jetlag which is always tough when going from the States to Europe. Being six hours behind is so much worse than being six hours ahead where I feel like all I want to do is sleep.

The flight over was seamless and was pleased that there was an available business class seat where I could try to sleep the entire trip in the hopes of jumping right into Paris time. I arrived at seat 3J and someone was sitting in it. I hate when this happens. It seems nitpicky to have the other person move, especially when both seats are on the aisle, but unfortunately, I have been in this predicament before and have regretted it. It was a flight from LAX to JFK and a girl about my age was sitting in my seat, I told her to just stay in it and I'd take her seat, the one behind her. No big deal, right?

This girl was an absolute horror to the flight attendants referring to them as stewardesses, asking how the meat was prepared and if there were organic options, sent her food back not once but twice, insisted on tasting each wine on the cart and pressed the flight attendant call-button several times during the flight for inane questions, one being if any of them had seen the movie Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (yes, she said the title in full) because she didn't want to start it if it wasn't good. Behavior like this, in general, makes me cringe, even more so on planes because I would hate it if someone treated my mother like this and even more so when the person being abused thinks it's me because we failed to tell the flight crew that we had changed seats. Per their paperwork, this high maintenance princess was me, daughter of a flight attendant who was traveling on a Family Passenger ticket and acting like a complete ass. 

The following week, my mother received a note in her work mailbox from the purser telling her to review Family Passenger travel rules to her entitled daughter. My mother wanted to murder me for not telling the crew that we had switched seats.

Eight years later, I am in the same situation and now know better to just tell the flight attendant that we switched to avoid identity confusion as well as plucking a sweet elderly woman out of her seat. Pleasingly, the outcome was different and I wished I hadn't told the flight attendant that we had switched because I wished I was her! She's what I hope to be when I'm of that age. We started talking from across the aisle and I learned that she was in town for an annual ice-skating event in Bercy, that Gossip Girls [sic] films on her street in New York and thinks that the actresses dress like "total hos" and that she received a degree in web programming when she went back to school at the age of 68. She was sassy, smart, sharp and thought that I was 16 years old. God bless her. I'd like to think it's because of my youthful good looks that she assumed this but have a sneaking suspicion it's because of the zit forming on the tip of my nose that led her to believe I was a teenager.

The woman next to me was also a pleasure to talk to. We enjoyed watching Bridesmaids together, drinking champagne and talking about relationships, love and starting over in life. So much for getting that full nights sleep that I was banking on. One of the lines in the film stood out as ironic to me: "There's much more sense of community in coach." referring to one of the characters not being able to afford first class like her friends. This made me chuckle because if anything it's the exact opposite. It's always in the premium class cabins that I chat up with my neighbor after several glasses of wine. I've had conversations about divorces, horrible boyfriends, cheating wives, new relationships, quitting jobs, French and American politics, wine, fashion and food with complete strangers in business class. In coach, especially on an overnight flight, I always manage to sit next to the person who is pissed off because they couldn't get an upgrade, complains to me about the flight attendants, doesn't share the armrest or the absolute worst, faces me while sleeping with their mouth open. It's always an adventure when traveling. Please know that I am fully aware of this privilege thanks to my mom, and should the day I have children know I will no longer have access to this because non-rev babies aren't allowed in the premium cabin, so I'm milking it now. 

After immigration check, baggage claim and a delightful and intimate RER train ride from CDG to the city during rush hour with a suitcase the size of me, I was finally back at my apartment. As it turns out, my landlady who had been in and out of my flat for repairs had completely rearranged everything. She stripped my bedding, leaving me to make it after arriving on an overnight flight at 6:30 am, stored my toiletries in the back caverns of my cabinet having me search for ten minutes longer than I would like to for my face wash, my mugs were moved and little things one would need immediately after a long flight were out of place. She left a note saying that I would be held responsible for damages done by the shady sublet and that we would have a meeting later in the week. It certainly wasn't the warmest return back and plan on dealing with it after a long rest.

Tonight I'm going to torture Aurélien with a gourmet dinner of Kraft Mac n' Cheese with cut up weenies inside (for protein, obviously) and if I never mention his name on this blog again, you'll know why. It will be because he left me after I offended his refined palette with my poor taste in American cuisine. It feels good to be back in Paris.


  1. What a lovely post, Ella. Very glad that the old lady (what an inspiration) managed to make up somewhat for the frightful person who took your seat last time.

    Bon appetit et bonne chance avec votre proprietaire :)

  2. @the taupe - Thank you for your comment! The women that I flew with were incredible. Both of them were so inspiring, it was a lovely trip back! merci!

  3. Welcome back! Sorry about the miserable weather. If it's any consolation, it was beautiful until a couple of days ago.

    Can't say that I agree with the statement that there's more of a sense of community in coach. Like you, that's where I usually find myself fighting for my armrest or snuggled up (unintentionally) with a stranger.

    Bon appetit. Your dinner plans sound appealingly American! Maybe you could console Sebastian's palette with some Beaujolais Nouveau.

  4. Sounds like a lovely flight back!

    The last time I came back from the States, I brought a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese back with me. All the people that I served it to are still speaking to me, so there's hope for you. One of my friends is a dairy product engineer, and he was fascinated how powder, milk, and butter make cheese. Well, fake cheese anyway.

  5. @MK - Thanks! There's definitely no sense of community in coach! Just a bunch of pissed off passengers...myself included!! And good idea to pick up some Beaujolais to even it out a bit!

    @Shannon - LOL! The neon fluo powder is definitely going to creep him out! I can't wait!

  6. ooooh la la Fifi is LOVING her artwork to be part of a Parisian story!