She Lost Control of her Escargot



As mentioned in my last post, 1999 was the year Teryl, alias Inga, traveled with me through France, ending in Italy, for 3 weeks. We packed our suitcases full of our newly acquired clothing from my fashion designer friend. We were styling in long flowing linen dresses and jackets. France and Italy looked at us like we were aliens from another planet. Nobody knew where the hell we came from so at least we could not be stereotyped. In Florence, on the famous Ponte Vecchio, there was a young punk girl who looked at us and said “Baaaaah, baaaaah”. I was oblivious, in all my fashion confidence, and asked what THAT was supposed to mean? Teryl, clearly the sharper pencil, said without hesitation, “She thinks we look like sheep herders.” Oh. You mean we don’t look cool? Hmmm. Kind of ironically hypocritical to be judged on appearance by a Goth girl with a mohawk.

But that was in Italy! While Paris was probably not digging our style, some of France seemed to embrace us and our confidence still soared. One of our stops was in the beautiful city of Nancy. It was May 1 and there was a festival in their giant park, of performance and art. We snapped pictures as we modeled for each other in our beloved frocks among the trees and flowers. There was no judgement in Nancy. Everyone was smiling, having a good time and we maintained our dignity.




Eventually we made our way to the town of Orlèans, to learn a little bit about Joan of Arc and have a nice dinner. We found an outdoor cafe and were seated at a small table in close proximity to another table. There sat a very elegant and supremely cool French couple. So much so, that I was a little afraid of them. This was not the time to let fly my famous burst of loud laughter. No way. Teryl and I were going to quietly enjoy our dinner but then Fate, snickered and threw me curve ball. Laughter was not to be my crime.

Teryl ordered prawns and when they arrived she was tickled to see them staring back at her! “Look Felice! Isn’t that cute the way they are decorated with those fake eyes?” This was her first trip to Europe so we have to cut her some slack. I have never seen a prawn gazing at me from a plate in Chicago. But still, I was pleased, this time to be the sharper more experienced pencil! I broke the news to her: Those eyes, my friend, are the real deal!  She handled it with grace and calmly dissected her meal.

I ordered the escargot and although I have a pretty good grasp of menu french, didn’t realize I had ordered a salad with cold escargot. No big deal. It was my first encounter with these creatures of the shell. There’s the little fork and how hard could it be? Yah, right!  No past life skill came forth to rescue me. There was a quiet struggle and I was really hoping the beautiful people did not notice. And then the unthinkable. Digging in a shell with the fork, the slippery little dude, exited and went kamikaze airborne, smacking the gorgeous frenchman in the face. His cheek to be exact. There was an elongated moment of silent shock and the look of sheer terror on my face. The man made an exaggerated gesture of scornfully wiping the slime off his cheek and then burst into laughter along with his lady friend. I still wanted to die but was crazy grateful for his kindness and sense of humor.

I image that I am famous in Orléans for that bonehead move. I’ll bet even Sainte Jeanne was rolling her eyes and  laughing from the heavens. Am I that guys favorite dumb ass tourist story? Or was I instead, the “charming” American sheep herder who lost control?




2 Responses to “She Lost Control of her Escargot”

  1. 1 David B. February 24, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Felice: your posts leave me dreaming of Paris and yearning for a new career as an escargot rancher. I long to saddle my horse and hit the slimy trail, herding those little buggers to market.

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