Doug Speaks: Wherever you go, there you are…

…and so are the assholes. It’s funny; prior to this trip, whenever I told someone I was going to Paris, I received one of two responses: “Oh, you’re going to looooove it,” or, “Watch out. The French are real assholes.” I studied my Rick Steves phrase book religiously (ie. every time I was on the toilet), because I was given to understand that if you make an effort to speak their language, the French were, in fact, kind and generous people. Unfortunately, all I managed to learn over three strenuous months of toilet study was how to order cheese at a fromagerie – “Bonjour, Monsieur. Je voudrais cent grammes fromage bleu, s’il vous plait.” I have yet to come across a fromagerie, but when I do, I will wow the living hell out of whomever is so lucky as to wait on me. “Mon Dieu! Did you hear that American order fromage! Maybe Americans aren’t such assholes after all! Sacre bleu!”

And so, I’ve been toddling my way across this beautiful city, calling lovely young lady cashiers “Monsieur,” and wishing them “Bon jour,” when any idiot could see that it is, in fact, “Bon soir.” I mumble when I’m uncomfortable – ask any of my friends – because I hear the stupid coming out of my mouth and am somehow powerless to stop it, and so my brain does an end run around my mouth, making me mumble; thus no one other than myself can hear the pearls of troglyditic inanity dribble from my lips. In French it’s even better. Reduced to a conversational stalemate after trying and failing to order a carafe of tap water (my lead card), I resort to pulling out my trump,”Parlez-vous anglais?” which comes out of my mouth “Blah-bleh bloo Blah-blah?” And those asshole French? They are so totally and marvelously kind. Patiently, they await my next linguistic gem. Generously, they throw me a lifeline, cuing me with just the right word I need to regain my confidence and right the conversational ship. They are a wonderful, understanding people, and I have yet, in all my childlike gleeps and glops, to come across an asshole here.

But I have experienced assholes here. Not on the street, or at the Tabac, or the cafe, or in line. The assholes I’ve encountered are ON line. Every night of this trip, my wife has been baring her feelings, her fears, her failures, and her most desperate hopes on the blog I’ve now taken over. While she could be relaxing and taking the vacation she truly deserves, she has been devotedly posting on this stupid blog. And yet, there seem to be a group of people who live on the web who exist for only one reason – to make other people feel like shit by responding with nasty comments to other peoples’ blogs. Let me be clear here – I am NOT talking about people who honestly disagree with what my wife has had to say about Eurpoe in general, and London and Paris in particular. I disagree with a lot of the things she’s posted myself. And I’ve told her so – loudly and often. I AM talking about those snarky, nit-picky, nit-witted, douchebags (Harvard comma for you grammar dicks) who feel it is your mission and your right to pick apart writing done in between mad dashes between tourist attractions. If you have such a void in your life that a typo or a missed comma sends you into fits of righteous indignation, well…I’m sorry. I’m sorry that a misuse of language offends you. But maybe you should take a lesson from the French: support instead of drag down, hold your tongue although it pains you, smile and say “Ahhh…un carafe l’eau du robinet! Oui, Monsieur, tap water coming right up,” instead of perpetuating the steroetype to the French (and the world) that Americans really are total assholes.




10 responses to “Doug Speaks: Wherever you go, there you are…

  1. Doug, You had me at Whenever! You had me at Whenever! Sniffle, Sniffle. Did I use proper grammer or punctuation. If not, go f*ck yourself and enjoy your boring life finding typo’s and mistakes.

  2. Doug- thanks for being so supportive of Tracy. She is lucky to have you. I hope the rest of the trip goes well.

  3. Well said Doug!

    I am so proud of you for attempting French.


  4. Doug, thanks for your posting, tell Tracy to keep her head up high, she is doing a great job here.

    Hope you have a great time on the rest of your trip.


  5. Doug…that was perfect!

  6. Loved it. Ignore those other people. They have no lives and they really don’t want anyone else to have one either. As a former English teacher I work hard not to be paranoid about writing in public, because there is always that special someone just waiting for you. As for the assholes, they are everywhere in every country. When Rachel (my one and only girlchild), who spoke fluent business level French after seven years of French language classes finally went to Paris, she had a terrible time and found the people to be profoundly rude and horribly unsympathetic whenever she asked for directions. She actually had to punch out a guy in the metro who was trying very hard to get a kiss from her after she refused to buy one of his fraudulant metro cards, I will not even spend time the ass pinching incident. Of all the places she has ever been in this world, and they are many, she found Paris to be her least favorite. I was not in Paris long enough to get a favorable impression either. Rachel says Amsterdam is lovely.

  7. Dougman, I find it quite excellent to see you flip out. Haven’t seen/heard that in quite a while as it is a bit of a rarity. Rock On Dougman! Hmmmmmm..Now that you mention it, I believe I feel the need to void!

  8. Tracy: your husband is a real keeper! You may have had a rocky start to your trip due to not being able to keep pace with the overly planned out trip binder, but you realized it was making you crazy & you tossed it aside. And you have been pretty open about admitting your mistakes and frustrations in your blog, which is refreshing. It’s your blog so just ignore the assholes who want to critique you (can you say “LOSER” en Francais?). Sorry to hear you won’t be going to Spain on your own

  9. Doug,
    Don’t give those people any air time. Obviously, people enjoy Tracy’s blog or they wouldn’t be following. Just remember, when you post things over the internet, you open yourself up to all kinds of responses, criticism, and just plain a–hole opinions.
    BTW – I did enjoy your insights on the language experience. Very funny and true.

  10. Hello Doug and Tracy! It is so nice of you to stick up for your wife. I’m sorry people are mean to her. I just want you and her to know I have truly LOVED reading her blog. I rush in to check my e-mail to see if there are any updates. I will be sorry to miss it but I do hope you both have a great trip. If she finds the courage to continue and delete the mean comments, there are those of us who fully enjoy her writing and musings of the ups and downs of foreign travel. Good luck with the fromage!

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