The Real Me

The Real Me

So LATE this morning as in ALMOST LUNCH TIME, so close you could really just SMELL lunch waiting for you, we were in the mall.

We were in the mall because Sébastien, who comes from a country where it is actually ILLEGAL to open on Sunday, was convinced that 10:00 a.m. was just a fine and dandy time to go to the mall in the U.S.

Then he complained when he found all the stores closed. He swore up and down that you wouldn’t find such tardiness in France.

(Like many Parisians not to mention the rest of the world, Sébastien confuses Paris with France sometimes. Also, he conveniently forgets that his is a country where you can’t get anything done at lunch hour and where, as previously pointed out, it is ILLEGAL to open on Sunday. Unless you are in certain categories, such as restaurants or small family-run stores. Some big stores do open, obviously, but they pay a fine. I’m not sure how the law covers malls, because it’s true they do open at some point on Sundays.)

I said, “Well, you know, we have a tradition of going or feeling guiltily that we should be going to church on Sunday mornings.”

And he smacked his head and groaned, “Oh, yeah, I forgot about that religion thing.”

(Note: France is a very Catholic country. By that, I mean that it is culturally deeply Catholic but in actual factually not practicing at all, something like 13%.)

ANYWAY, so one thing we did discover is that our particular mall on a Sunday morning is a great place for kids (something other parents had clearly discovered), and so Mia ran all over the place, meeting other kids and above all meeting statues (there are a lot of bronze statues of kids with–very important–DOGS in our mall), without fear of us losing her or someone walking on her.

Good place. I am on a rabid anti-consumer kick right now, but still…We shall go back, in bad weather.

But around about 10:30 I started getting HUNGRY.

I realize this is an embarrassingly early hour of the morning to get hungry, but let me ‘splain:

We were out of Honey Nut Cheerios this morning. We only had this organic version of Honey Nut Cheerios that I had tried once and which we loathe but occasionally have to fall back on when we run out of the real thing. (Note: Not all organic version of HNC are bad, but this one is.)

So I had eaten breakfast, but it had been a very tiny bowl of lousy-tasting substitute for Honey Nut Cheerios.

THAT’S why I was so hungry at 10:30. Unfortunately, the first thing to open in the mall was Panera’s, and they weren’t opening until ELEVEN.

So I got hungrier and hungrier and kept checking my cell phone for the time, until we were at the opposite end of the mall and my cell phone said: 10:52.

“We’d better go back!” I said urgently. “It will be 11:00 by the time we get there!”

“Laura, 11:00 is when they OPEN. Not when they CLOSE,” Sébastien said. “I’m pretty sure you’ll still be able to eat at 11:02.”
“Did I explain to you about the Honey Nut Cheerios? I am HUNGRY.”

Mia kept running off to pet bronze dogs, though, which really slowed our pace. I picked her up and started carrying her so we could get there faster.

“My back is killing me,” I muttered. (I’ve had a big back problem since labor. Carrying 27 lbs on one hip makes it kick up worse for some odd reason.)

“You could put her down and let her walk,” Sébastien said dryly.

“Yes, but we’ll get there faster this way,” I said. “Did I mention yet that I was hungry?”

This is what is so annoying about French people. They are trained to SELF-DISCIPLINE. Because it is culturally unacceptable to eat between meals, and because any meal takes a good half hour of chatting and waiting before you actually get to the food part of it, they are trained to ignore hunger pangs; mentioning hunger pangs does not, in fact, form a part of civilized behavior.

(There are other things annoying about French people–have I mentioned yet that my mother-in-law weighs less than I do?–but let’s stay focused.)

“So you are going to *Bad French Word* your back in order to eat two minutes sooner?” Sébastien shook his head in despair and reached out to carry Mia for me. Then he mentioned YOU. “You never tell your blog readers about the real you, do you? What would they think, with you messing up your back because you are starving to death at 11 in the morning?”

From this I gather, Dear Blog Readers, that he has not been keeping up with my posts.

Because I just cannot imagine that this information about me will have come as any surprise to you.

Except maybe the fact that no chocolate was involved. THAT’s probably why I was so hungry. I hadn’t had my chocolate for breakfast. See Sébastien’s evil laugh as he ate UP that chocolate in that last post about the server switch.
Still…I have now duly shown you the REAL ME. In case you were fooled by all the previous posts into believing I was not ruled by my stomach.

  • Laura,
    First, I was not in the least shocked by this post, maybe because I’ve can be almost rude when I get hungry.
    But I also have to pass along something serious. I read your posts on bloglines and after each post, there are about 200 links to porn sites listed. I have a whole ton of blogs that I read through bloglines and this is the only one that has this problem. I’m sorry to tell you, but I knew you’d want to know.
    Feel free to write me directly about this if you need to.
    Mary (

    March 3, 2008 at 9:35 am
  • Yay I can comment!!

    First… Does Sebastien realize that he is posting as Fluffy? LOL 🙂 I wasn’t sure at first if it was him or not… 😛

    and LOL, I can understand your hunger 😛 I’m often that way too. The difference though is that I don’t have a 2 y.o. with me. however, I thought that it was definitively very cute and funny, your story 😀

    March 4, 2008 at 10:59 am
  • It’s not a cultural thing, it’s a metabolic thing. I don’t have a mild-hunger stage: I’m absolutely fine and unaware that people need to eat to live, until my blood sugar level drops below the red line and then YOU NEED TO FEED ME NOW DAMMIT NOW OR I WILL KILL YOU. MESSILY. My friend Melanie is the same way. Our husbands have lots of anecdotes about this. In your situation, I would have abandoned husband and child, sprinted the length of the mall, and then scratched feebly at the glass until the Panera people let me in. Tell Fluffy to quit smirking and carry crackers around to keep you pacified. Or those little cookies with the slab of chocolate on them. That’d be better.

    March 4, 2008 at 4:43 pm
  • I couldn’t comment yesterday for some reason. Yes, I’m like you and alala. My husband doesn’t understand how I can go from “meh, sort of hungry” to “I HAVE TO EAT RIGHT NOW OR I WILL TEAR YOUR HEAD OFF WHILE MINE SPINS AROUND.” At least, apparently that’s what it sounds like from his perspective. And while I always have snacks for the kids, I’m not so good at toting around snacks for myself. You’d think I’d learn.

    March 4, 2008 at 7:44 pm
  • Yes, Nath helpfully alerted me to the comment issue in an email. Sorry about that! We have been having trouble with the hack Riverlark mentioned (the one that imbedded hidden code that would show up as links to porn sites on Bloglines), and the comments got turned off somehow when we were working on getting that straightened out. I *think* it’s fixed now, but if anyone else spots anything, please let me know!

    I really like to think I was very patient in this whole hunger episode. All I was doing was carrying my child and walking fast and repeating, “I’m so hungry, I’m so hungry, I think I’m starving,” every two seconds. I had been hungry at least half an hour!!! And I still hadn’t even started growling. And we had even passed an ICE CREAM SHOP that was just opening at 11:00, too, and I bravely headed on to Panera’s so my daughter could have a proper lunch example.

    Good point about snacks, Amy and Alala. I do usually carry chocolate, but Sébastien got me this fancy purse for a present and I am forbidden to carry chocolate in it because of the whole melting issue that has affected my previous purses. Maybe I shall try ziploc bags.

    March 4, 2008 at 8:27 pm
  • No, Sebastien should carry your chocolate. Definitely a husband-job. It’s part of being a provider.

    March 5, 2008 at 3:24 pm
  • Melanie

    Okay, this is weird. I am a friend of alala’s and read her blog daily, she referenced yours today and I see she then mentioned….. me in her comment. I don’t just get “I’m so hungry I’m going to rip your head off”. I get so hungry that I decide it’s not actually about me being hungry, maybe we need a divorce because you are a terrible person and you just.don’, oh, thanks for the sandwich, where was I?….. let’s go see another museum. Psychotic. He gets it now. Alala’s husband I am not sure really gets it, or she is just deeply and genuinely a nicer person than me. (We had a “we are so hungry moment” with both husbands present once. Hers did not seem as alarmed as he should have been). And, now that I have a kid I usually carry snacks for both of us. But I have to be honest and say, I am not above eating her Cheerios and organic miniature bunny crackers if I run out. Nice meeting you Laura.

    March 5, 2008 at 11:08 pm
  • Yes, but Alala, I’m pretty sure it would be like the battle over him remembering his cell phone so I can call him at the grocery store to add to the list every minute or so. He ALWAYS forgets to bring it on those trips. And if he forgot my chocolate, at a bad moment, we might be talking MAYHEM, such as Melanie describes.

    Hello, Melanie! Nice to meet a kindred soul. So here’s my question: what happens when you and Alala are out together and hungry and only one Cheerio remains? Does the friendship survive it? 🙂 I could see how it would be a real test…

    March 6, 2008 at 6:13 am
  • Melanie

    We would bite it in half, exactly. But we live on seperate continents, and when we do see each other food figures heavily in our plans, so it doesn’t come up. 🙂

    March 7, 2008 at 11:38 am

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