Yeah, I know, I had the same reaction when I walked into the snappy little boutique in the Marais (where I ended up buying a cute little shirt from the discreetly placed sales basket, and deliasherman
bought a very elegant cardigan sweater): "Merde, Obama!"? Was this Frenchwoman telling me she thought my choice for candidate - as evinced by my now-famous Button, worn all over France - was sh*t?
But then I remembered high school - or was it college? - theatre, where we had daringly gone around saying, "Merde!" to one another before a performance, in the belief that it was the way the French said, "Break a leg," i.e., "Good luck!"
Turns out it was true.
I gave her a broad grin, and a thumbs-up.
We flew out of Charles de Gaulle airport (outside Paris) on Tuesday afternoon. The Hindu (I assume; Muslims in India don't wear the red forehead deco, do they? And while "Indian-American" kinda rolls off the tongue, "Indian-French" is a bit of a mouthful)
woman checking our passports & asking the ritual security questions before we were allowed to check in asked us if we were heading home to vote. We already voted by absentee ballot, we told her. She fixed us with an intense eye. "And who did you vote for?"
I thought they were only supposed to ask if we'd packed our own bags!
We got home late (good thing we'd voted in advance), and managed to keep our eyes open only long enough to see inconclusive results on TV. Woke up, predictably enough, at 3 a.m., and went to the computer to see the good news. It all felt a bit muzzy and unreal; I took an Ambien, and wasn't at all sure I wouldn't wake up in the morning to find it had all been a dream.
But it's not.
Yesterday, I got a note from my old editor in Paris, from the artsy little Left Bank house, Hoëbeke
, that originally translated Thomas the Rhymer
. I haven't heard from Aline in a couple of years; I didn't even know she knew how to use the e-mail! It was headed "Congratulations!" and I assumed it was going to be about the new review for A la Pointe de l'Epee
. . . . but the note read: Just a word to tell you i’m very happy for you and also for the world ! I hope Obama will be a great president !
If marrying Terri out of our house made me feel like the Mother of the Bride, well, getting Obama elected makes me feel like we all just had a new baby over here! Between the folks here dancing in the streets, and the congratulations - and genuine hope and joy pouring in from the rest of the world, it reminds me a bit of the old historical novels where the heralds announce that the queen has borne a son and heir (who will, if we're lucky, turn out to be Charles the Good and not Louis XVI). But, to go all 18c on you, this Queen is Liberty, and her son is the son of Reason & Compassion . . . and has been sent to some excellent schools. Even if he isn't the True Prince we've been hoping for, may he do well enough to make us all proud.
On the last day we were in Paris, I lost my Hebrew Obama button somewhere on the streets. I hope whoever finds it picks it up and is happy. And no worries, as it turns out my mom in Cleveland still has the one she's been wearing. Mom!