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blue monday.

 Illustration via Pepper and Buttons.


Last Sunday Aurel announced to me that on Monday, I was going to have the most depressing day of the year.

Merci chéri?

"What the hell are you talking about, you're going to have the most depressing day on Monday!" I bit back.

With a chuckle, Aurel who has the patience of a saint, even when my New York bitch claws come out, shared with me something called Blue Monday. And here I thought it was just a song by New Order. Blue Monday is a pseudoscience theory that states that January 21st has been defined as the most depressing day of the year as a result of lack of energy and motivation, the need to see immediate results of our new year resolutions, and disappointment over goals not yet being actualized. The concept has since been challenged and debunked by scientists as merely post-holiday blues used a marketing campaign for a travel company. Yet some still believe its "powers". My fiancé included.

While I wouldn't exactly call last Monday depressing, there was something a bit off about it....

I woke up with yet another cold of this winter season (seriously, this is getting played out now). We're going on cold number four here. I keep telling my kids to stop sneezing on me, as well as have made painstaking efforts to teach them the vampire technique of sneezing into inside of your elbow (aka your imaginary cloak) to prevent passing germs like you would with your hands. Per usual, they just looked at me and at some point in the day, sneeze again, hands-free, on or near my face. 

Kids.

Not wanting to take a sick day, because of the frequency of these colds I have to learn to persevere through them in hopes of building up some sort of a resistance. So off to work I went through the slush, ice and wintery mix that was gracing the city. It was still extremely picturesque with the gorgeous background of Paris. I would take a wintery mix here any day over one in Brooklyn, where the slush would begin to smell like dumpster juice after a day.

On this particular Blue Monday (if you want to call it that), I'm just going to come out and say it: my kids were beyond annoying. It was evident that they had spent a better part of the weekend indoors due to the weather and have used their time with me to release their energy. They were violently kicking toys across the room, disturbingly singing their new favorite song "I Like To Move It" in resonant volumes, screaming bloody murder if a purple marker touched their paper because 'only girls' use purple markers, and with a mouth already stuffed with cookies, demanding another one while spitting out chewed up wet cookie chunks onto the table. I am usually very gentle and patient with them, but on Monday my irritation was obvious.

Thankfully yesterday I had the day off due to a teacher's strike (no, I'm was included in it) and was able to sleep off my cold. As the parents came to pick up their children, I confirmed one last time with each of them that I would not be teaching after school English the following day. Waiting for my last student Thomas to be picked up his father, I had him ready in his Zadig and Voltaire cashmere hoodie, navy blue rubber Wellington boots, and his Sonia Rykiel puffy coat. When he arrived, like the other parents, I had mentioned the strike and that I would not be seeing them until Thursday. And then what happened next, I did not expect...

He wanted to know if I wanted to get a drink across the street to discuss it.

Discuss what? It was pretty simple that I was not coming in and that we'd all reconvene on Thursday. What more was there to discuss?

Furthermore, I wasn't going to a bar with my student who is a baby with his completely un-single father.

Next level creepiness, if you ask me.

Overtly stunned, I declined his offer and charged away, looking for my belongings. I wanted what was happening to just go away. Tout effing suite.

"Oh you Americans with your frontiers!" he said with a smirk that was almost belying how inappropriate his request was.

"Frontiers? I think the word you're looking for is boundaries," I said, shoving my arm in my coat sleeve that seemed to be twisted and was denying my desperate arm access, before adding, "And I love them."

"Okay, ça va" he said with a shrug before picking up Thomas, "Ready to go, To-To?" Yeah, I'll give you a To-To. With that, the three of us awkwardly walked down six flights of stairs together.

Not wanting to jump to any conclusions about his proposal, I couldn't help but find it a bit absurd. Perhaps I am an American who recognizes the importance of boundaries, but like Father O' Thomas said, ça va.

What would have made it a true Blue Monday would have been to slip on the ice on my way home, but that would have taken the day to Rom Com territory, and even the "almighty" whoever that is doesn't have it in her/him to be that cliché

In all fairness, was my Monday depressing? Not really. Annoying as merde? Absolutely.

I hope you all had a much better slushy and icy Monday than I did! Now off to the pharmacie for more meds...

48 comments:

  1. Next time (and yes, there will be a next time) you can tell him, ce n'est pas une question de frontières, mais gastronomie. Il n'est pas à ton goût.
    And the third time (jamais deux sans trois) tell him avec plaisir, je dois d'abord téléphoner à Madame pour lui avertir que son petit minou rentra plus tard que prévu.
    That may calm him down... maybe...
    oh, and keep it in French so he knows the little boy understands and may quite possibly ask maman why papa et la maîtresse were talking about border patrol, are thye going on a trip together?

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    1. Hahaha thanks Sylvia! So funny! I would never have the nerve to say that. I'm blushing! Something tells me you've experienced this....more than once here?

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    2. I like Sylvia's solution;)

      But if you don't feel comfortable with it, a simple: "Désolée, j'ai un autre engagement" should do the trick.

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  2. Wow. I hope you're feeling better. And I'm glad it didn't slip into rom com territory. And GO Sylvia! Love her comment. Is the dad at least good looking?

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    1. Yeah Sylvia's comment was great. I wouldn't have the nerve to say that, but I'll keep it in my back pocket just in case. She's really mastered the art of dealing with men here!

      The dad is actually quite attractive, and he knows it. So it was one of those situations, you know what I mean?

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  3. Oooh, I like Sylvia's idea lol Hope the cold feels better soon, I also seem to be getting another one, but I'm ignoring it, so it'll go away?! I'm not sneezing over anyone though ;o)

    My Monday was the start of another merde of a week in the office, but in 2 1/2 weeks time, I'll be leaving it all behind, so I couldn't be that blue about it!

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    1. Thanks Katy! A day of rest yesterday dried up this cold quite nicely! I think I am building up an immunity...finally!

      Oooh are you moving on to a new job and you're on countdown? Isn't that exciting for you?! I used to love counting down days until an end of a job. You had to pretend you still cared all while saying in your head "hahaha this won't mean anything to me in a few weeks!"

      Good luck!

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  4. greetings from the frozen northland...this week the temps dropped waaay below comfortable AND my husband just left this morning for a business trip to FLORIDA!! so I'm not depressed but I'm annoyed to say the least...thank God for my Uggs.

    You must have the patience of a saint to handle cooped up kids in the winter and their crazy parents...

    stay warm and feel better.

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    1. Oh no! Brrrrr. We had a mild day today but the cold swept back in once the sun set making for some very ice cold knuckles. I could use a pair of fluffy Uggs. I love them! : )

      Thanks Deb, I usually have tons of patience but Monday was just one of those days, you know.

      Thanks for your comment. : )

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    2. Cold enough for you, Debs?! I walked home from work in -32 weather last night! I was happy to get home, let's just say!

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    3. we gotta swap email addresses some how...we are hogging the comment section of too many blogs..haha

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    4. I know!;) If you write Ella or Mindy, they both have my email;)

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  5. Huh. I've never heard of Blue Monday, but yours sounded pretty awful. I hope the week perks up for you and there are no more bizarre offers from the parents of your students!

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    1. Thank you Meredith! The rest of the week is shaping up nicely! Google 'Blue Monday' (if you haven't already), it's pretty fascinating, even though it's not true.

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  6. Ummm, another point of view..isn't it nice that just when you have lost patience with the world, the little darlings, the nasty weather, your parade of colds, a gentleman invites you for a drink? You stayed with his child longer than the others, and he sees you tired and grumpy. From my experience, limited though it is, when a man -- even and especially a married man -- makes such an invitation in France, it is merely a light flirtation, meant to be a compliment, not a come-on. How gracious! C'est la vie francaise, n'est-ce pas? I'd have declined on the basis of my cold, or accepted a warming hot chocolate before heading home, but wither way, not taken offense.

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    1. That's definitely one way to look at it but the thought of having a drink with a married man with his child (who is my student) in a bar just wasn't something I was interested in. Call me uptight.
      :)

      I put it this way to myself, would I feel comfortable having drinks alone, to indulge in a little "light flirtation" with my friends' husbands who had just winked at me? Not really, so why would I start with someone I barely know?

      I wasn't offended as much as I was shocked. But that's just me.

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    2. Oui, mais non. When a light flirtation is refused, the refusal is received with an equally light gaellic shrug, or a bit more flirtatious banter. Not with a sore looser come back.
      I'm confident that Mlle is astute at reading flirtatious offers and just how appropriate they are, his response indicates her radar is well honed.

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  7. I think what bothers me is the American generalization! I hate that, drives me bananas! Can you imagine how he would have responded to a

    "Oh you frenchies who take children to bars and hit on younger women like its normal"

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    1. Hahaha thanks Liz! You had me laughing out loud with this comment. You're the best! Thanks! : )

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    2. I just hate when scumballs make you out to be uptight when you call them on their appalling behaviour (I'm not saying that the guy's behaviour was necessarily appalling - like anonymous said, it could just be a light flirtation that meant nothing), but I'm with you on the generalization, Elizabeth.

      Many many years ago, on my first trip to Europe (a camping trip with a bunch of Aussies!;)), I was dancing with the owner of a bar after an afternoon wine tasting in Germany when he started groping my butt. Not amused, I brushed his hands away. He laughed and put them right back on my ass. This time, I just walked away. I can still hear that Aussie girl who looked at him giggling and said: "oh, you'll have to excuse her, she's French Canadian!!!" As if I was in the wrong there!! As if I was uptight for not wanting to be groped in public by some mustache-ridden married man I didn't know from Adam! N'importe quoi!

      Whatever happened to sisterhood, I wonder?!

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    3. Hahahaha!! What a response! What does being French-Canadian have to do with it?? Why, are all North Americans seemed to have major sticks up their asses because they don't want to be felt up 'in da club'? That's hilarious.

      Sisterhood! Exactly! It always comes down this: would I want my husband/boyfriend/partner having a drink with my son and his young teacher who happened to be wearing a skirt that day?? I'm pretty sure Thomas' mother (who is absolutely fabulous and fierce - love her) wouldn't have been thrilled. Just sayin'...

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    4. I think people love to generalize about Americans. You can't win. If you had said "Sure pal, let's go do tequila shots and then make out!" the guy would be like "Wow, these Americans with their lack of 'frontiers.' So slutty!" If you say no, you have too many boundaries. If you eat a lot, all Americans are fat cows based on you eating extra turkey, and if you never eat dessert, well Americans are obsessed with watching their weight (not because you don't really enjoy sweets or any logical conclusion).

      I'd have said, well today I'm not able to grab a drink, but I'd love to have a coffee with you and your wife to discuss your son's progress. Or something to put him on the spot. Ah, French men. ;-)

      OH and to go on and on, a few years ago I had this French "friend" who was part of a language exchange I did, who was 10 years older than me (and before I met my husband), and seemed overly friendly/inappropriate. Then he told me he was in Paris for business and I'm welcome to stay in his hotel room with him so I wouldn't have to commute home to the suburbs. He's married. Two kids. I'm like UH NO THANK YOU! That was the LAST time we ever talked. Think he got the message? ICK.

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    5. Thank you so much Diane for your fantastic comment! So spot-on and incredibly insightful!! I have been labelled ALL of the examples you listed, and it was never because of me as a person, it was because of where I was from.

      The best you can do is be yourself and everything works out and you attract the right people!

      Thank you again!!

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  8. I think you were over-reacting. It is possible he could see you were not feeling very good and because he was late maybe he was thinking that buying you a drink would be a nice gesture.

    Maybe it isn't Americans and their 'frontiers', but I think a lot of American women, really believes that every man in the street wants to be with them.

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    1. Perhaps but perhaps not. I did write that I didn't want to jump to any conclusions even though I found it absurd. I certainly didn't think he wanted to have wild monkey sex with me right there. Oy, that would have been a mess!

      Saying that, what it comes down to is I'm a girl's girl, I don't get drinks with other women's husbands. Call me old-fashioned, up-tight, American. Je l'accept! : )

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  9. oh the perks of working with kiddos! I haven't had a cold (or the flu) in years but have had 3 colds and the flu 2 weeks ago so far. However, I have the secret to keeping the colds at bay (at least the last two) - Vitamin C. Husband makes a concoction of Vitamin C and something else that seriously works. I can hardly stand the taste but I do a quick shot (literally) then chug it down with some cold tea.

    Hope you are feeling better though and staying warm!

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    1. Yeah! You know how it is working with kids! Did you recently start? I'm asking because I'm wondering if it has been a shock to the system like it has been on mine, since you've been sick several times. Poor thing! Vitamins are the way to go. I need to stock up on C and Kristen recommended D which makes sense, we haven't had sun in weeks here.

      Here's to us not getting sick again this winter! We've paid our dues!!

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  10. I hadn't heard of Blue Monday until last Monday! I read an article about it on Yahoo News (yes, I know, great academic source!;).

    It so happened that I did have a shitty day on Monday, and so did my husband. Mind you, we've been a bit down-in-the-mouth of late. I usually have my winter blues in February, but I think they're early this year:) The thing is that I feel restless because I've been waiting for a few weeks for an answer on a job that, whether I get it or not, will be life-changing/defining, so I'm in limbo right now and I hate the feeling. I'm a planner and I can't plan anything until I know whether or not I have that new job. One way or another, it'll be positive. But I just have to KNOW for sure. Oh well:)

    By the way... since that married man tried to make you feel silly for not wanting to go have a drink with him, I think you have your answer right there...

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    1. How funny that there was an article about it. I'm going to have Google that. When he mentioned it to me, I was like quoi??

      I guess something was in the air last Monday, more than usual! Like you, I usually get them in February when I'm itching for spring to start, it's never come this early!

      Oy, waiting is the worst, isn't it? When they said you would here by December (last year!) and still no word, I understand just how frustrating that is. It's like 'hey, do you guys remember me?' : ) You'll hear word soon! I'm sending positive energy that it will be the response you're hoping for, if not, you've got a great back-up plan!

      Hahaha yeah I think I did get my answer. It was how he phrased it that made it seem not right. Mind you, he made NO mention of To-To, although it was implied, but still...

      Thanks Duchesse!

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  11. I would probably throw in the fiance reference next time --> "Oh I am just off to have a drink with my fiance!"

    But that "frontiers" comment would have got me in a twist too..
    ps had to ask a friend what Sylvia's response was - I like!

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    1. Hi Usha! You know I may have mentioned that because I was actually off to meet him to take the metro home with him. I think he would have found it weird too if I was like 'Go home without me, I'm having a drink with the father of one of my kids'.

      Sylvia's response was perfect. She's smart as a whip that Sylvia. :)

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  12. Good for you Ella!
    No matter what others say, going for a drink with a married man is NOT normal, whether you're American or Martian.
    It is not a matter of being open-minded or not, it is a matter of common sense. You don't even know this guy except from him picking up his kid in school!

    You should've sneezed in his face, maybe that would've turned him off...hahaha...just an idea.

    Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with water and honey and garlic capsules. Great immune booster.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sylvia S.! I stand my ground on this one, I wouldn't want it done to me (regardless if it is just light flirting) or to my friends who are in monogamous relationships. That's what my mom taught me; forming new friendships solely with one member of a married couple isn't right. Again, I may be seen as uptight but I'm okay with that. : ) Thanks for not making me feel crazy here!

      Oooh this elixir sounds like what I need! Thanks!!!

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  13. Luckily for us in the US "blue monday" fell on Martin Luther King day. So it was a holiday for me and a lot of people. I did laundry and sat around relaxing.

    As for the Father you gotta go with instincts on something like that. If it feels creepy it probably is creepy.

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    1. It sounds like you had a lovely Monday. I always felt that once MLK Day came, we were really making our way through the winter, and January would soon be over. Just another week...

      Hahaha, yeah, the dad sitch was a little creepy. I've seen him several times since and it's just weird.

      Thanks for your comment!

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  14. Well good for you, you picked up the signals of his intentions. It was not just an innocent invitation or he would not have made the comment about "frontiers"

    Sorry, I know there are all sorts of cultural differences here ( and maybe French men think it is OK and French women tolerate it) , but even "light flirting" is not acceptable with somebody else's man where I come from and I would be furious if it was MY man.... and non too pleased with the woman either.

    Brilliant responses Syvia, I must remember them next time I get hit on in Paris.

    The colds are your immune system dealing with the bugs the children pass on to you. My daughter runs a kindergarden and when they get new staff, they get one "cold" after another for a while till their immune system strengthens. Soon you will be immune to SUPERBUGS!!

    As to blue Monday. Well I was still basking in the post Paris glow. Probably come down to earth next week. The I will have post Paris blues. Time to book another trip!

    Again a very interesting discussion.

    Love Denise

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    1. Thanks Denise for your comment! I agree. Married men don't form friendships and go on casual dates with other women. It's as simple as that. Like I've said before, never underestimate the power of being a good person. It's little things like this that test morality.

      I feel my immunity building up because each cold is weaker and lasts less longer than the one before. But I may need to take some of Heather's (below) suggestions to actively battle it beyond washing and sterilizing my hands and covering my mouth with my scarf.

      I hope you're beating your post-Paris blues! I have to check out what you've been up to. :)

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  15. Um, I think Daddy was totally trying to explore your frontier if you get my drift. (wink wink - nudge nudge).
    And my never ending winter chesty cold has come back to say hello too. It's rather annoying. We should put our jammies on and watch Twin Peaks together. Or the original BH 90210. You pick x

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    1. Hahahaha totally!! LOL!!!!

      Oh so BH 90210 Orig. I need to see the Kelly/Brenda showdown when they both showed up to the prom in that off-the-shoulder white bow dress. Ooooh that episode or the Paris episodes!!! I LOVED those episodes....just not the parts when Kelly was 'frontiering' with Dylan on the beach to the soundtrack of "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover".

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  16. Do you want to hear something really shocking? I actually don't have "Blue Monday" in my itunes? How is this possible? Of course, I went immediately to check upon seeing the title so have been listening to "Ceremony", "Love Vigilantes" and now "Your Silent Face" (sigh) while reading this fantastic post and all of the reaaally interesting comments. Sylvia is my hero, I believe. I can NEVER come up with something so snappy like that on the spot, it is always thirty minutes later, which is useless.

    Um hello? Dude was totally trying to put the make! *me shaking my head in disbelief over the Anonymous comments* Like Usha, I do think that I would have mentioned my fiancé--I think that is how I used to handle such situations when I moved to France. Now, of course, I am no longer a Mademoiselle but a Madame--that plus my frenchification of avoiding smiley eye contact and having put on ten kilos seems to have done the trick and I am no longer hit on at all! Whew! ;)

    Hon, do you not know about liquid zinc? True, it usually comes in freaky glass vials but you should be taking them twice a day (after food). That and start eating garlic like bonbons (dèsolé Seb). And make my favorite ginger, cayenne, honey, lemon tea--and since it is the weekend you can add rum or what have you to burn out the germs! My Sister teaches Music Together and Denise is right, soon you will be immune to it all! But you are Purelling your hands like crazy in the meantime, yes?

    Bon Weekend,
    Feel better.
    Will be on the lookout for rapini at the market for you tomorrow...
    h

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    1. No 'Blue Monday'! That is shocking! I have moments like that too. I have two Deee-lite albums on my iPod but NOT 'Groove is in the Heart'. How is that even possible? I get shit for that all the time.

      Yes, I'm with you. I'm not quick enough to come up with sassy responses on the spot, it's always later when I'm like on the metro and I have my ah-ha moment. Like you said, by then it's useless.

      Some of the comments had me scratching my head a bit as well. I love a healthy debate and understand that we won't all agree but when strong comments are hidden by anonymous users, I can't help question the validity or conviction in their words. If they have to hide, how strongly do they feel about their stance on the topic?

      Liquid zinc?? Hmmm, can I get them at Naturalia? I have never heard of this. I'll Google search it later. I think I'll do the tea over munching on garlic! Do you really do that?? WOW. But yes, I wash and disinfect my hands every half hour and I cover my mouth and nose with my scarf when I'm not speaking, but I think I'll need to take on your suggestions for that extra boost!

      Thank you Heather for your fantastic comment!!

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  17. Oof, bizarre. Hope you feel better soon!

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  18. Your kids wear Zadig & Voltaire and Sonia Rykiel?! Seriously? That is taking Rich Kid to the next level.

    Sorry to hear that Mr. Sleazy French Father hit on you, hun. (I mean, god, if you won't do it, *I'll* jump to the conclusions for you! :) ) I think you did the right thing with the "frontiers".

    Sometimes, I wonder if the lovely French partner I sit across from will somehow evilly turn into one of these crazy middle-aged French men of whom I hear so many stories likes this!! It scares me a little bit inside, truthfully. I know it's not right to generalise, but there are some cultural matters that seep everywhere... I am always extremely sensitive as to how deeply.

    x Milsters

    (http://www.littlepiecesoflight.com/)

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    1. Yes, my kids dress better than me! One of my students has Fendi sneakers! They're really cute and tiny.

      Thanks for jumping to conclusions for me and not making me feel like I'm crazy! Haha! He was definitely hitting on me (ew ew ew ew ew) and have seen him since "our chat". I'm decided to go the French route on this one and am pretending as if it never happened, instead of being my usual New York self and being openly uncomfortable.

      Aww, don't worry about your man. I think this way of thinking is going out with the older generation. I have not heard one story of any of my guy friends or Sebs friends cheating on their fiances, wives and long-time girlfriends in my almost 4 years here. Not that we're young, we're all between 30 - 40.

      Oh god, I have friends who are 40. I AM old. But really, don't even think about it. :) How's apartment hunting going?

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  19. Frontiers instead of boundaries? LOL. Wonder if he thought JFK was talking about nude frontiers, not new frontiers? ;)

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    1. Hahahaha maybe!!! Excellent comment! So witty. Thank you!

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