Welcome to the French rat race

2:15 AM

I made an appointment. It was ten days away but at the exact time that I wanted. Just enough to get some errands done before the spa opened at 10am. Yes, I was finally going to use my birthday gift certificate! I was excited. But the timing had to be exact. I had to drop off Chatterbox, get my stuff done, relax with my first facial and then have a coffee to write a bit before getting her. Perfect plan.

All plans go bad at some point though. First I was late dropping off Chatterbox but we finally got there. And I ran to the store o get my shopping done. Halfway through I thought time was getting close so I hurried and paid. Walking to the spa I realized I was early Nothing here opens early. So I slowed my pace. Pretended to check my emails. Then I checked them for real.

Got to the spa at 10. The door was closed. I saw the girl but she pretended not to see me, or perhaps she really didn't, and walked to the back. I waited. She didn't come. My self-consciousness getting the better of me I walked down the street a ways to do some window shopping. At 10:08 I went back to an open door. But she was on the phone. And I walked in with another lady who was a split second earlier than me.

I waited. She hung up the phone. Greeted the other woman. Made her appointment. Finally it was my time. She took me to a room and left.

I am ready. It's just a facial. Taking off my coat is sufficient. But she doesn't come back. I hear her talking to someone at the reception. Then the phone rings. I wait. I get impatient. I wonder if I should reschedule.

I decide I should stay. What else would I do with my time now? The morning is ruined. Or it could be if I let it. I won't let it. I'm learning not to let it.

I calm down. 

Then I get frustrated again and think it is time to stand up for myself...but then I think that I have a gift certificate here and need to use it. If I were paying cash then maybe I would stalk out, but I can't do that. 

So I stay.

Still, she hasn't come......

She came one minute later. And gave a brief apology. I explained that I had to leave in less than 45 minutes. She pulled my hair back and told me that would be no problem.

And then I was lost in the bliss of a facial. Those things are awesome!

But it made me thoughtful about my American genes. I can't let go of them. They plague me and sometimes they are good. They get my kids to school on time, to appointments on time, it causes me to demand (politely) good service, etc. But then sometimes it makes me feel like I really am that rat in a cage just running on the wheel. If I had gotten mad I would have stalked out and missed out on a facial. Which was probably the best thing I've had in awhile. She gave me advice, wrote it all down, never tried to sell me products and relaxed me more than a hot cup of coffee. 

The French don't participate in the rat race, which at times can be mind boggling. But at other times I find I can learn from them and their rather relaxed point of view.

Because in the end she gave me a discount and now I have enough money left over for another facial. And next time I'll give myself more planned time...Like I said, I can't get rid of these Americans genes!

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