The Fête of the 14th

© Jessie Kanelos

In celebration of the 14th of July, we attended an apero on the 6th floor of an architect friend’s place in Belleville.  It was younger crowd than usual.  And every single one of them was an architect.  But I was feeling confident.  My outfit was banging and I brought fleur de sel brownies which always gives me a leg up on friend making.  In America at least.

It went on like any other apero.  I bought myself some time at the buffet and put out my feelers, scanning the crowd for a little eye contact and resulting chitchat.  No luck.  Luckily, I became well-acquainted with a friendly couple named Tarama and Blini.  But it was only a matter of time before the fireworks erupted far in the horizon.  In the nick of time, “Firework”, Katy Perry’s fist-pumping anthem of self-esteem came on.  Her Swedish songwriters sure tugged on my cold heartstrings as I watched the Eiffel Tower blowup in the distance.  Come on Jessie, just “ignite the light and let it shine!”  “Boom boom boom!” You too can be brighter than the “moon moon moon!” I said to myself as I mussed up a little courage to confront the second half of the soiree.  I refilled my drink.

Seconds later, as the last firework fogged up the Parisian sky, Dionysis and the little-g party gods were with us as the whole flat erupted into a collective, full-throttle dance party.  Damn, these architects could flail.  They could even dance to Celine Dion.  Somewhere between “No Diggity” and “Wannabe”, I became fast friends with a 20-year old Danish Erasmus student.  She pulled me close as we were jumping around to House of Pain, “I have a question. How old are you?” “I’m 26.” ” You seem like you are finished with partying.  Why aren’t you drinking?”   At this point, I already drank a whole bottle of wine and dug deep into my 1990s subconscious to recite every word of Shaggy’s “Mr. Boombastic” by heart.  How dare you tell me I’m not fun!  Yes, Joni Mitchell and collecting digestive teas can lead to an equally interesting evening.  But those things are reserved strictly for Sunday nights.  Defeated, my husband and I returned home.  As my hangover carries onto its second day, I accept the fact that my idea of fun™ is not exactly the same as it was when I first arrived in Paris 4 years ago.  But Shaggy will be with me for life.

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