August 7, 2009

Evolution of an Evening

One of the things that happens here, that doesn't happen quite so often at home, is the accidental social event.

Last night we dropped by a friend's place, where we will be staying later in the month, to meet the woman who is there now and sort of get the lay of the land.

We parted company five hours later.

It was innocuous enough: we came in off the street rather warm and she offered us something to drink. Some Rose? Some red wine? Water? Orangina? We opted for Rose, and after taking a brief tour around the apartment, we sat down to chat and drink and have some nibbles. (All good Parisian hostesses offer a little something with the wine.) We finished the Rose and moved on to the Cahors. By the time we finished that bottle, (effortlessly, I must say), I looked at the clock, saw it was 9:30 p.m. and decided we should probably eat something.

We had a change of venue to the brasserie down the street and settled in for more conversation. That's the other thing: you get to meet some fascinating people out here. This woman, with whom I have several friends in common, graduated from the same University as I did. Her husband worked at the IHT a few years before I arrived, but it is her tale that is most interesting. She initially wanted to cover Latin American affairs at the Miami Herald back when women didn't really do that. She got a Ph.D in International Relations so she could do it, and still they were reluctant.

Many cities and university professorships later, she is teaching journalism in Abu Dhabi. How's that for a grand adventure?

We both ordered moules frites, one of several things on my must-eat-when-I'm-back-in-Paris list, Paul ordered a salad, and we talked for another two hours.

That's the fun of it -- we thought we'd stop by to check out the wi-fi connection, and closing in on midnight we were on the Metro back to the Marais. We didn't overstay our welcome, or impose on her plans ... it just sort of evolved, as things like that so often do here.

Accidental social event indeed.

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