I am told that, were I to leave this page untouched for more than a few days, all you ritalin kids, invested with the attention span of your average lab rhesus monkey, would leave this oasis of hipness and insanely cool writing for the next happening spot in the blogosphere, expunging it from your bookmarks without ever looking back, you ungrateful sons of a jackal (I am also told that it’s bad manner to refer to your readers as the progeny of a desert carrion-eating pest, but I assume that, if you have been voluntarily subjecting yourself to my laborious grammar and approximative metaphors so far, you are of the masochistic kind, so I guess that makes it ok).
Therefore, just so you stop feverishly hitting that refresh button for a bit, let me tell you that I am indeed alive and kinda kickin’ (well, I would love to be kicking a few things, especially those small ankle-biters on leash swarming the Parisian sidewalks). I am also still busy and slowly coming to the horrible realization that I will never, no matter how hard I try, ever fathom the way French universities work. Must be a cultural thing.
You know how they got these “meta-unit” in the US, wherein you are supposedly explained how university functions and how to work the system to your advantage. Well here, you do not need a class: understanding university is a career… you won’t get there with any less than a full-time investment over a period of many years. Which is a pity if you opt to spend that time, you know, studying instead. Then you have to rely on university personel for assistance and advices… and that’s when things get ugly….
If you have only ever dealt with regular French administrative officials or anglo-saxon university employees, then you cannot even start to imagine the depth of indifference and borderline sadistic pettiness that will befall you, were you to attempt the slightest communication of a remotely inquiring nature with a French university official. Luckily such traumatic experience are fairly rare, since calling said officials (opening hours: 10:30am to 3pm with 2 hour floating lunch pause) is only likely to get you on wait for 30 minutes, after which the most insistent calls are simply dropped. If you just said ‘e-mail’, you are disqualified: you obviously are not even in the same galaxy as these people.
As you can see, bureaucratic pettiness has cast a serious shadow over my usual light-hearted demeanour. But fear not, as this will only reinforce the need to drown in excess the many unpleasant memories of this week, which surely shall make for great writing and photographic material. So stay tuned if you want to see pictures of youth acting drunk in public, peeing in front of various landmarks and generally making a nuisance of themselves for the good people of most European capitals… that should happen before the end of this week and will be dutifully documented by yours truly. If you were here solely for the pictures of naughty japanese schoolgirls engaging in lascivious acts with their “teachers”, you were probably just another Google moron anyway. For the rest of you, wacky Japan will resume in less than a month.
By the way, if you must have your luggage mistakenly rerouted all over the civilized world while you patiently wait on arrival for the best part of a week-end, I recommend it being by Air France: at least you get a lovely emergency toilet bag, complete with L’Occitane En Provence full range of skin care products and a magnificent Air France XL-size t-shirt… well, truth be told, Aeroflot, not AF, lost my luggage during the connection, which was so unsurprising that I barely bothered looking for them at the airport on arrival.