Joie de vivre
Here is The Bean in a bag. A Bean bag if you will. She looks so full of life, so vibrant. Which she is. A positive ball of energy madly running around nose to the ground sucking up whatever scents are assaulting her snout with a joie de vivre that leaves us breathless much of the time. This particular day was excessively hot so we popped her in a handbag to save her overheated, fatigued legs. We are careful of this Bean.
Last September we made the trip from home in the Cantal to Paris (about five and a half hours by car). I had an appointment with the US Embassy and in deference to my tense disposition at the thought of the impending Green Card interview, my husband booked us into our favourite Hotel des Dames du Pantheon. We have stayed before and The Bean is treated like royalty and always referred to by name by the excellent and delightful fully multi-lingual staff. As ever we were given a room with a ‘vue impenetrable’ of the Pantheon in all it’s beauteous glory. I had an appointment with an Embassy endorsed physician (there are two of them in Paris) for my medical. I was nervous. I’m not very good at medical for me. During my morning away being examined by this charming Irishman, having chest X-rays and blood tests and vaccinations for things I have never heard of and am sure I certainly don’t want to be acquainted with, The Bean reclined regally in our room. She had taken the air of the Cinquieme Arrondissement before breakfast, enjoyed a little smackerel of brekkie stashed in a napkin and smuggled back to the room for her delectation and was entirely happy to be fully relaxed and generally recumbant. In the afternoon we walked. She doesn’t get to run much off the lead in Paris but people are largely very dog-friendly and she is always happy to take a petit café an apero or better still, a meal with us because folk have a habit of slipping her a pat and a morcel of something nice.
The following day we made our way by car (which had hitherto been parked in the underground carpark nearest the hotel) to the Place de la Concorde. We were a little late out of the starting gate and had to be at the Embassy promptly at One to get through security. These were our emphatic and clear instructions and we did not want to put a foot wrong. We had about 49 minutes to park the car,sneak a quick lunch, return to the car to deposit dog and get in line for the main event. Lunch would need to be somewhere around Fauberg St Honoré which runs along the back of the Embassy and about 5 minutes walk from the car. We hot-footed it, taking lengthy and rapid strides towards our goal of a likely lunchery. The street is fairly narrow and we were stuck behind a posse of rather bulky people walking excessively slowly. So I put my foot on the imaginary throttle and powered past, The Bean (the Athletic Bean as she perceives herself) gambolled along behind me. It must be noted that I was at this point in my life uptight to boil-over point. We had been waiting for two years for this moment, jumping through a seemingly endless series of hoops and I had absolutely no idea what questions I was going to be asked. It is rather akin to being asked to interview for a job but with no job description to guide the prep. As I passed the entourage a woman’s voice rang and twang in my ears ‘oh that poor little thing being dragged and choked near to death’. I snapped. The world slowed down as I span round like Wonderwoman and eyes flashing squared up to the offender. ‘She is neither dragged nor choked so I suggest you SHUT UP!’ I spat – my clipped, polished and perfectly enunciated English worthy of Maggie Smith at her most pithy. The woman was clearly appalled at this deranged firebrand addressing her. I imagine she had assumed I was French. Assume as my youngest daughter reminds us makes an ASS out of U and Me. For my own part I have only just recovered my equilibrium, so livid was I at the unjustness of the flung accusation. It was only as I glided on my way, sure in the knowledge that I had put that wench squarely in her place, that it occurred to me. She being American and in the street that runs down one side of the Embassy building that she might, might easily be the same person who would interview me for the fabled Green Card that very afternoon …. mercifully this was not to be an occasion to add to my overstuffed portfolio of ‘oh bugger’ moments. If she is on the Embassy staff she at least wasn’t confronted by me twice that day. But not for the first time, I wished I was that person who has the ability to just waft by situations. Lunch did not slip down easily as the lump in my throat expanded. The Bean, yet again was the winner …. she rather likes saumon fumé au fromage frais de chêvre though I believe she was less than enamoured of the salade.
PS: I post this in response to the Daily Press Weekly Photo Challenge entitled Vibrant. For me vibrancy is about a state of being not simply about vivid colour (though that is a reasonable interpretation of the word and many have quite brilliantly here) and The Cruelly Treated Bean is vibrancy incarnate.