Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rentin' to the French

A group from the presidential party came late this afternoon to claim the bikes they had reserved. The parents did not come, but we had been led to believe several Sarkozy offspring were in the group. One teen-aged lad did resemble the pictures I've seen of the president himself, but turns out not to be related.

Steve had been a bit nervous as we waited for their imminent arrival. I assured him I would tackle whatever needed to be done. Since I had six years of first-year French over the course of my long and undistinguished academic career, and I have a great ability to let people find their own equilibrium before trying to shuffle them on their way, I figured I could tell them the library is across from the church and that the lunch menu surely included "des saucisses." Neither of these statements were true, but I was pretty sure I remembered how to say them. But then, as almost always happens, Steve swung smoothly into action. The visitors' excellent command of multiple languages simultaneously put us to shame and made our job as easy as a large-party rental could be.

I don't know how they'll handle the logistics of actually riding around here. But no one's made that my problem yet.

Initially I was disappointed not to get to see the president and his wife, but their decision makes perfect sense. What vacationing couple wouldn't take a chance to get the kids the heck out of the house for a while? Apparently the actual Sarkozy kids stayed across the street with the security team in the SUV.

In the aftermath of their departure we all just sort of fumbled around waiting for closing time. It was too late to dig into a project, but too early just to lock up and bolt.

I want news photographers to get a picture of me wearing my Surly tee shirt next to the president. Send Surly around the world on wings of the tabloids. Maybe later. I've been washing and wearing it all week.

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