Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I had to get some blood work done today. My fear level of blood tests is somewhere in between having my eyes stabbed with forks and my arms sawed off. While I have absolutely no fear of the dentist (one dentist told me I was his first patient to actually go to sleep during a root canal), I had some bad experiences with blood tests and IVs as a child that have left me with a sheer terror of anything having to do with needles in my arms. Even though I always eat beforehand, I bring my own "fainting kit" of juice boxes and cookies for the inevitable pass out.

I woke up today and my stomach sank as I realized not ONLY would I be getting blood tests done...but I would be going ALONE and having to deal with the whole process in Frrrrrrrench.

Pack extra juice box.

I was recommended to go a CEF lab in the 14th arrondissement. I walked in, took a number and was immediately called to one of the secretariat desks.

ME: (Silent. Deer eyes.)
ME: (Cricket sounds. Big deer eyes.)

SNAP OUT OF IT! You have been here almost a YEAR. Just LISTEN to what she is SAYING. Listen CAREFULLY instead of just flipping OUT all the time. My GOD, what is WRONG with you!????!?!!!!

ME: Uh....peut etre un peu plus lentement? (maybe a little slower?)

I have to tell you, as she proceeded to raise her volume level to 11 and slowed it down to a mere crawl, I could actually understand her and we got through all the paperwork and information without much of a problem. I now know that yelling at a foreigner really slowly DOES actually make it easier to understand. I used to find this offensive in NY when I'd hear someone yelling at a stranger but I'm 100% DOWN with it now. I wish all of France would yell at me really slowly. With hand gestures.


She gave me a gold colored token and about 65 pieces of paper so I wandered down the hall she had pointed at wondering where to go and what this token was for. Is it for the toilet? Is there a prize? A technician spotted me coming and guided me into one of the saw my arms off/torture rooms. I told her my French was bad and that I have fear. She was very nice, I looked away as she took the needles out, breathed deep breathes and tried to picture the ocean. Sometimes I am able to go to my special place where no one can touch me but today was not one of those days as when I imagined the ocean, I just saw Coney Island with needles all over the beach. OK, forget that.....moving on...California, California, used to live there....picture the beach, the biiiiig beautiful beach....briiiight blue waves....wait what is that in the water? Oh look, it's a school of needlefish jumping into floating arms in the blood red stained waves where sharks have just torn the arms off all the swimmers and everyone is screaming....

OK STOOOOOOP IT!!! And then I feel the old familiar....arms and legs go numb, heart racing, profuse sweating, stars in eyes, ringing in ears...NONONONONONO... you will NOT pass out in a foreign country...NO WAY....pull it TOGETHER NOOOOOOOOOOW.....(trails off)


Pass out.

I wake up and the technician is asking me if I am OK. "Uh...Je ne sens pas tres bien..." She tells me she is going to get me a café which cracks me up as I reach for my fainting emergency juice box kit. Is coffee the French answer to all ailments? And more importantly, does it work? I drink both juice and coffee as she tells me to sit quiet for two minutes. I feel better after five minutes or so, pack my bags and put on my coat to leave. She comes back in and asks me where I am going.
"I'm leaving."
"No no, you have to do the second series of blood tests still."


I'm only HALFWAY done? I hear the waves crashing on Needle Beach already as I mumble "uh...ok" and sink back down into the torture chair.

A second technician comes in, this time a guy with Converse sneakers and punk rock hair. I tell him of my previous pass out (actually all I managed was "I fell down when she takes the blood"), we chat a bit (all French), he finds out I am musician from NY and he starts talking to me about every punk band he knows from there. He's never been to NY and wants to go badly, he learned English from listening to lots of American music. As we sit discussing the genius of Sonic Youth, I don't even notice the needle is already out of my arm and I am finished with series number two. Whoa. I thank him profusely, he says he will myspace me and suggests the next time I just talk about music when I get blood tests.

I'm asking for THAT guy next time.

:) Peace out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I quit smoking again. For those of you who know me, feel free to roll your eyes into the back of your head. I know. I am forever known as the girl who is ALWAYS quitting smoking. If only one of these times, I would NOT do the idiotic "oh I can just have one" before hurtling headfirst onto the slip n' slide right back to it....

Day 1 & 2 - Things are OK as long as no one speaks to me or looks at me in any way. My shut in job as a film composer works great for this but am having serious trouble writing a love theme as all I can think about are knives and fire.

Day 3 - a friend's band is playing a punk rock show. I want to murder everyone in sight and am breaking into random fits of crying but I must go to the show. We arrive early and as an hour turns into two, I realize I have not eaten dinner and I am about to lose it. I HAVE to eat. HAVE TO. As in, RIGHT NOW. We are down the street from the Monoprix at Pigalle so I make a beeline from the club to get myself a sandwich or five before I die. As I head up the sidewalk, I see two young guys approaching me and they move to block my way. Are you KIDDING ME? Nothing right now in this world could possibly get in between me and my Monoprix sandwiches. NOTHING. I saw them coming and I think secretly inside I wanted them to mess with me because frankly, I am looking for a reason to go off. As they give me the up and down creepy look and say something in French, I get in the little one's face and yell as loud as I can, "I WILL TAKE A HAMMER TO YOUR FUCKING FAAAACE, UNDERSTAND ME LITTLE MAN????" before pushing through them and continuing my beeline for tasteless ham on white bread with cheese.

They didn't follow.

Yeah yeah, I know the smarter thing would have been to ignore them and cross the street instead as I do time and time again being a girl in a city, but I have to say....
that felt REAAAAAALLY good.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

O O O O O!!!!!

I stopped by the small market yesterday and as I checked out, the man behind the counter asked me how I was. "Nervous" I said. "I hope tomorrow I have a new President Obama." There were about 8 people in line behind me who cheered when the woman next to me said, "the whole world does!!!" The magnitude of this election hit me. Yes indeed, the whole world is watching.

From my little apartment in Paris, I sat with baited breath devouring both television and the internet. Internet then television. As night descended and state by state went blue, I really began to believe that yes, it actually....can happen.

And then it did.

I have a huge smile on my face and joy in my heart.
There's a long road of troubles to overcome but after 8 years, I finally have hope for my country again.

America, I really do heart you.