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rue-madame's Diaryland Diary

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America

Bonjour Tristesse.

This is the title of a great novel by Françoise Sagan, and it's also the way I've been feeling since I landed.

I knew it was going to be downhill all the way when in the terminal at Charles de Gaulle, I began to feel sick to my stomach. First, across from me, was a total 1970's-style butch dyke couple, complete with mudflap hairdon'ts, plaid shirts and tevas with socks. Then, next to me was a complete nincompoop rambling on and on in a very loud voice about internet-this, dot.com-that, bandwidth, networking, mis bullshit. A wave of nausea just washed over me. Dread.

The flight was not so bad. The new United 777s are pretty cool, though I wish I'd had Premiere status so I could sit in Economy Plus. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the country that believes that all men are created equal is the same country that is constantly creating new class hierarchies in airplane travel? If we were all truly created equal, wouldn't all planes be democratic and classless? And, frankly, there is an element of American culture that is classless, no?

Ok, I am digressing but before I move on to the next portion of this entry, I would just like to provide all travellers with a helpful, Heloise kind of hint: Valium. It makes 10 hour flights a breeze. Especially if you wash it down with some wine. Hey, as long as you're not the one flying the plane. . .

So, San Francisco is the same as it was when I left, except there are a hell of a lot of For Rent signs. And American flags. Jesus, I don't think I've seen this many flags in my life. They're everywhere: on cars, in windows, on t-shirts, in every single neighborhood. I had lunch at a place that is supposedly cheap, and was outraged that for $12, all I got was a glass of water and 1 course. Then, on top of that, I had to do math and leave a tip for our slack-ass waiter. I had another bit of shock when I ended up spending $3 for coffee and a croissant at a café; not only was the drink *not* brought to me, but I had to bus my own dishes! Full-service prices for self-service is j-i-v-e.

On the plus side, I had one delicious burrito and one scrumptious super taco with all the fixins (on separate occasions, mind you. I am not that big of a "goinfre.") My new shoes elicited so many squeals and compliments, I got embarassed (except when people asked me "Where did you get those?" and I got to answer "Paris" matter-of-factly. I love that.) Yesterday, I had the greatest wax at my favorite salon, and my new favorite aesthetician, Amanda, treated me like a Princess. It was nice getting deluxe yet friendly and cool treatment. And my eyebrows look amazing. I've seen a bunch of friends and that has been really, really lovely. I still need to get a cocktail but with my jetlag I haven't been awake in the evenings. Maybe tonight I will be sufficiently awake for a nightcap at The Lone Palm. Martini Rouge is great but sometimes you really want a nicely proportioned Ketel 1 + Tonic.

It's so strange being back here. I feel like I've changed, like there's something in my molecular makeup that has been forever altered, and then I look at my friends, doing the same old thing, looking exactly the same and I wonder, "Do I appear the same way to them?" I knew re-entry would be difficult, but I did not imagine that I would feel so alien. Of course, Los Angeles will be even stranger, but perhaps the contrast between it and Paris will provoke excitement and adventure. I'll find out when I head down there next week to look at apartments.

5:54 p.m. - 2001-10-05

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