One True Line

Ernest Hemmingway said that when he needed to come up with an idea for a new story all he'd
have to do is look through his window down onto the rooftops of Paris and write one true
line. Paris, he said is a movable feast and you will always have it with you wherever you
go.

Okay. The view out of my window wasn't overlooking the rooftops of
downtown Paris, but it was pretty close, and at least it was France. So, what the heck, one true
line...

I don't find the French to be very rude

...It was midsummer and the line for the Louvre was long. I had Lukas in the stroller
and Sophie by the hand. We'd been in France for about two weeks and my language skills
were still in Phase One: point, nod, and smile. It was a zoo of tourists and there was no
way the kids would be able to wait so long to get inside. I called it quits, turned around,
and we headed for home. On the way towards Rue de Rivoli I spotted a museum entrance
for tour groups and handicapped access. With two small kids and a stroller, maybe the
guard would have a heart. I figured it was worth a shot.
We inched up to the door and I gave my nearly nonexistent French everything it
had. C'est possible pour nous? His response was a rapid string of sounds that I couldn't
even begin to pull apart. I still got the drift. Sorry pal. But wait; now he was saying
something else and he motioned for us to follow him. Or did he? He spun around so fast
that I wasn't even sure. We tried hard to keep up as he trotted briskly through the crowd.

The guy never looked back. Did he really want us to follow? Totally confused I was just
about to give up and call him a jerk when he stopped at the front of the endless line, lifted
up the rope, and put us on the elevator. "Bonne journée Monsieur." he said as the glass
doors closed.

Sophie beamed and Lukas wasn't crying. I can't even remember how long we lasted in
the museum, it didn't matter. For one day we were Louvre VIP's. And since that day I can
only say that we've had many more experiences like this and very, very few bad ones. It's
the truth.

Why we meet so many unhappy expatriates I can't say for sure. I think part of it
is definitely the language. Just a few courtesy bonjour's and merci's go a long way.