This happened a long, long time ago, maybe a life time ago! At a time when I had long, black hair, not a touch of those ‘stress related highlights’, when I was in a perpetual sense of wonderment of all the things around me, I was easily amazed, easily happy, when I went places, I actually took the sights and sounds in instead of looking around constantly to see if my kids are within my eyesight, when my thoughts didn’t wander from one schedule to the next, my face didn’t sport the worry lines, it easily broke into a smile, when I thought, felt, experienced! Wow, MUST have been a long time ago. Now that we have established the time frame, on to the main story.
I was very new to Baltimore and I was going with Sean to see Washington D.C for the first time! I had read about Washington D.C, heard stories about it, regarded it with awe! Powerful, make or break decisions were made in the cavernous insides of the beautiful buildings there. Not just of USA, but sometimes the fate of other countries are decided there. Since my blogs are apolitical, we will not get into the merit of those decisions but will leave the readers to make their choice. But I digress.
Sean drove into Washington and quickly ditched me. He had an all day meeting, he brought me along to do the sight-seeing solo. We planned to meet at a place after his meeting to grab a bite. I wasn’t unhappy about being on my own, though. It was a gorgeous day, the green of the mall stretched before me, the reflecting pool reflected the breathtakingly beautiful buildings spread around the mall. I sat on a bench to just take in the beautiful scene when a young man sat next to me and smiled. Since I am very social (read talker), I smiled back and said hello. It turned out he was from France, traveling alone, first time in Washington D.C, and overwhelmed. His English was slightly better than my French, but we hit it off. I should mention here that my sweet husband once told me to walk a few steps behind him in Champs de Elysee, Paris, when, in my usual state of wide-eyed innocence, I said at the top of my voice, ‘Sean, this is the famous Champs (ch sounding like CHocolate) de (sounding like DElhi) elysee (el-i-see)! Sean turned to me with a sombre face and said in a quiet voice, ‘You need to walk a few paces behind me because I don’t know you!’ This must have been a terrible faux pas, since he didn’t say that when I didn’t recognize Sting in Varanasi! But then, he is a little snooty about his French and Spanish!
All this was to make it clear that my French is terrible….ok, non-existent. The Frenchman could speak English, barely. But we decided to tour Washington D.C together. We did the usual touristy stuff, went up to the Washington monument, Jefferson memorial, Lincoln memorial, et all. I helped him out in ticket counters, took pictures of him with his camera, he took pictures of me with my camera, had lunch. It was fun to discover a new city with a new friend. At the end of the day we parted ways without exchanging numbers or promises to stay in touch. We both knew that this was where our camaraderie ended.
I met Sean at the appointed time (I am pretty sure he was late, he always is) and gushed about what a wonderful day I had with a friend.
‘How awesome! You met an old friend here?’ he asked.
‘No, I made a new one!’ I told him about my new friend.
My husband is not the jealous type at all but till date, 14 years later, he sometimes jokingly talks about my ‘going out with the Frenchman’! We have shared many a laugh over it and my kids have been told the story as well. No prizes for guessing who told them the story, though.
Anyway, Sean and I are planning to go to Rome for a week. He has a meeting, I am tagging along to revisit one of my absolute favorite cities. The kids are being left with the grandparents. Predictably, the preteen girl is ecstatic about this unexpected freedom from parental watchfulness. She is arranging rides for her innumerable student council meetings, birthday parties, and other social activities. I am just standing by the side line watching her manage her social life and her rides with such ease. She truly is on her way to growing up!!! But the little guy is not super happy about the prospect of both parents leaving for a week. He is split between looking forward to being pampered rotten by the grandparents and missing mom and dad. So he is trying everything in his power to make us review our decision to go. Last night, the dinner table conversation went like this:
“Dad, you really shouldn’t take mom with you!” he said.
“Why Ryan? You will have so much fun with Didiya and Dadai!” Sean said.
“Yes, I know. But Dad, what if mom finds a Frenchman when you are in a meeting?”
I had to interject, “What Frenchman, Ryan? Why would I find a Frenchman? What are you talking about???”
“Just like you found a Frenchman in Washington D.C when dad was in a meeting. And you said he was hot!” he points out.
Sean burst out laughing while I glared daggers at him.
“I didn’t say he was hot, I don’t even remember how he looked!” I try (its the truth)!
“Yes, you did! Yes, you did! You said he was hot! Dad, don’t take mom to Rome, don’t take her!”
Katy Perry, Drake, LMFAO, and other singers of the ilk, you are banned from my radio stations. Why does a seven-year old talk about ‘hot’??? Oh wait, he does have an almost thirteen year old sister!