The March trip to Europe keeps getting bigger, with a meeting in Paris added over the past week. I suppose it is time to confront that old Paris demon. Sure, I’ve changed planes there in recent years — learning in the process to avoid Charles DeGaulle at all costs. But I’ve not returned to the city itself since 1997, when I made my very first, ill-fated trip to Europe. At the time, it seemed a no brainer to visit a friend who was living there, but in retrospect it was the worst possible introduction to the continent — and the very reason my next few trips across the pond took me no further east than London, all of which is detailed in FLOM:

         The friend I was visiting in Paris is tall, or at least taller than my five-foot-four frame, and elegantly thin. As someone noted in our days of working together back in Denver in the early nineteen eighties when she was consuming soft drinks and Snickers all day long, she has a metabolism like a coke furnace. For that reason, she has never had to exercise a day in her life to keep her figure. It’s gotten to be a lifestyle, and no doubt one of the reasons she found Europe so disagreeable was its pedestrian culture.

            So when I was in Paris, she worked long and hard to get us to our destinations with as few steps taken as possible. This meant numerous and complicated connections on the Paris Metro. On bright, sunny breezy days in Paris with the chestnut trees in bloom, we spent a considerable amount of time underground. Our dinners were determined on whether she had the energy to walk two blocks out of her way to a better shop or café than the ones just outside her door. She kept promising a trip to a big outdoor market. Finally, one morning we waited for at least fifteen minutes on a cold windy corner for a bus, only to ride it for one stop, maybe two, to a market no more than six blocks away. I thought I’d seen it all in my previous seven days in Paris, but that left me flabbergasted.


  1. Corliss on February 3, 2014 at 2:55 am

    The consensus is that I should send you a Snickers. LOL

  2. Corliss Terry on February 21, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Your blog is the only post I’ve made public on my FB page.

    There was so much about your visit that I didn’t say. Like how you took so many various OTC meds on the plane over that the first thing you did on arrival at my apt. was vomit. Or how you started eating off my plate in a restaurant after I’d finished my meal. Or how you left me sitting on a park bench wondering where you were for an hour, all so you could take pictures–I was worried sick, because the way you followed me like a puppy when I was showing you how to use public transportation, not bothering to figure out how to get from pt. A to pt. B for yourself, I was convinced you were lost and would never find your way back to the apt. How about when you left a copy of an email that you’d written to a co-worker on my computer, and you’d made derogatory remarks about me? I considered speaking up about that, but it was your email, your coworker, and I let it go, believing that somehow, for some reason, it was necessary for you to lash out in your passive-aggressive manner.

    Sadly, you are someone who feels so bad about herself that she’d rather say unkind things about people behind their backs so they don’t have a chance to stand up for themselves. It’s easy to play the victim in an effort to make yourself look like the smarter one, not so easy to face your insecurities and admit you are far from a real friend”.

    I hope you get well. And I wish you more creativity, because you either blog when you’re intoxicated, or you just don’t have than much to say.

    • admin on May 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Friends always pass on tales of someone who writes a memoir and ends up infuriating everyone around them. So, to that end I am posting this response. Only three comments: the OTC meds were chewable Pepto Bismol, which I doubt did anything one way or another to make me vomit. The co-worker I emailed was Mike. And perhaps this passage sums up the visit better:
      In short, my friend and I were a poor match that spring. Her marriage was in the initial stages of a terminal illness; I was still reeling from the terrible end of mine.

  3. Deane Gremmel on May 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    When I read that mean-spirited post, it made me angry, and when I get angry, I do something about it. First of all, Anne is a world traveler, and I’m sure can get from point A to point B without much problem. Secondly, Anne is one of the most generous people I know, having helped me through a contuining diffult time by offering moral support and a shoulder to lean on. Thirdly, as an author Anne taught me the ropes of the publishing business and gladly shared her knowledge with me. Without her support I would have never written my book. My advice to Anne is to block that woman via social media channels and to never respond to her again. She’s like one of those one star reviewers that thrives on tearing down something beautiful, and taking perverse pleasure in doing so. Forget her, delete her, and never look back. It will be liberating!

  4. Melanie McQuinn on March 21, 2017 at 2:20 am

    I agree with Deane-the response to Anne’s blog was over-the-top, and likely not intended to elicit such a response. The respondent and Anne are not likely to have a friendship after this.

    • Anne Leonard on March 21, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      I don’t let go of friends easily, but as I explained to this woman in a personal email at the time, I’d known for some time we were too different to remain friends. Hey, I called her elegant in my post. No one ever calls me elegant.

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