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We had breakfast on the Champs-Élysées this morning at Café Joyeux. Their croquet monsieur (a breakfast sandwich) was to die for - one bite can cure a hangover. They also serve a deep, rich Yirgacheffee coffee (€15 a cup) that I think God stirs with his little pinkie finger - it’s THAT good. We took up most of the little outdoor, oval tables on the right side (there are 10 of us) and our little sorority was noisy with chatter - earning us looks.

Our European vacation culminates today. We’re flying back to Georgia in a couple of hours. June seemed to drain away like water.  

The minion my Grandmère charged with coordinating our vacation, François, breakfasted with us. He’s one of the flock of Sorbonne Université MBAs she recruits each year to infuse new energy into her conglomerates.

He briefed us on our departure and flight. His imposition of definitive order and advance planning allowed us a casual and carefree sense of travel this summer. In an ideal world, he’d coordinate my entire life.

He’s been on-call all month but joined us, off and on - like when we arrived in Doublin, at customs, to smoothly guide us through and again, similarly, in Paris.

He’s 26, very handsome and model looking. He’s perfectly tailored, with an elegant yet minimalist style. He wears dark shirts of admiral and yale blue with long black jackets and gray slacks with no tie. His hair is a hipster straight, blonde fringe.

He’s so perfect that I wouldn’t put it past my Grandmère to have placed him in front of me, like bait, to see if something with us sparked-off.

He’s Frenchly brisk and yet dryly solicitous - as if I have the power to sanction his position, which, in a way I suppose I do.

“How’s François doing?” Grandmère would ask, each time we talked.

“He’s wonderful,” I said, “I think he’s a keeper.”

“Good, good for him.” she would reply - making the comment sound almost sly.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Culminate: "to reach the end or final result.”
It’s midnight on June 24th. We’re returning from a “Hot Wax” concert - they were wretched. We’re heading back to Paris tomorrow, so we decided to just stop at the (Kube Hotel) lounge for nightcaps.

Everyone was stirred-up and tight as a violin string when we heard that the “Extreme Court” threw out “Roe vs Wade’s” constitutional guarantees - the latest signal of Americas ascendant entropy.

Following that, was a ruling that threw out New York’s gun restrictions. “Republicans wear compassion like a costume,” Anna pronounces, “what “right to life” IS there, if every nutcase can walk around with a machine-gun. Haven’t they been watching the news?”

Leong, who’s always willing to discuss the superiority of the communist system, susurrates, to no one in particular, “Abortions are legal in China and unless you have a hunting license - guns are illegal.”

“Maybe we should move there,” Lisa says, ingenuously, holding up her drink toastingly, her face tinted a gleaming, bourbon gold in reflected light.

Returning to our suite, 3 hours later, Sophy’s adopted a mode of travel involving swerves and leaning heavily on things. Which Leong, who was not doing much better, finds hilarious. “Use your signals!” Leong says after barely dodging one of Sophy’s flailing arms.

“Two loves I have - of comfort and despair.” Sunny quotes, in her richest, Shakespearian voice.

“There’ll be no uncomfortable beds tonight,” I say, searching my bag for my phone, which has the suite key in an attached card-holder. Charles’ room is directly across from ours and I see him shaking his head as both of our doors close.

We’ve adopted a motto, “live to exhaustion,” and I think, to myself, that we’re living up to it, as I flop onto my bed and the world goes dark.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Ingenuous: showing innocent or childlike simplicity and candidness.


slang
wretched = very good
Its sundown, the day’s been reduced to a crack of lavender and fiery pinks along the Massif des Maures mountains. This evening we’re sipping cocktails at “Les Toits,” the Hôtel de Paris’ rooftop restaurant. The French would call this a lounge.

Les toits translates as ‘the roofs’ and its stunning view overlooks the provincial rooftops that ***** down the foothills to the gulf of Saint-Tropez and it’s world-famous beaches. The well lit boats are settling down and dropping anchor for the night as we complete our orders and get our second round of drinks.

This has been the best vacation. I think we’ve all reclaimed our calm after a tense freshman year. We’ve been at the beach for 10 days. Leong and Sunny are actually tan, Lisa and my hair are half a tone lighter and Bili’s black skin has taken on gorgeous, purple-ish highlights.

I’ve known Lisa now for ten months, but we share a deep connection that seems older. Lisa’s lovely, brazen, and naturally flashy, without trying. Unfortunately, though, Lisa draws men like a keig-light draws moths - whether she’s looking for them or not - I don’t envy her that. Young men, middle aged men, old men.

Lisa said it started when she was 13. She’d be in a store or restaurant with her mom or dad and a lady would introduce herself, “Hi, I’m with the Ford, or Elite, or IMG, or DNA modeling agency, has your daughter done any modeling?” And another business card would be wasted. Her mom nodded as she recalled this sordid past.

Attention just shifts to her, the party comes to her, she can’t seem to avoid it. About every 30 minutes some man comes over and introduces himself to us (to her). This man owns a local night club, would we (she) be his guest? (He’s looking at her like desert) This guy owns a yacht - “that one, there,” he points it out, in his Russian oligarch voice - he clicks a fob on his keychain and the lights blink. Oh, sure, join a strange foreign man on his yacht, what could go wrong?

There are 8 of us girls at the table with Charles, our escort and confidant. He’s a 50-ish, red headed ex-NYC-cop who just sits there quietly and sips his drink like James Bond. He seldom says anything. I lean in to him and say, “Maybe they think you're her ****?!” Leong coughs in her drink and Charles gives me the same, serious, “behave yourself” look I’ve gotten since I was 9.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: confidant: someone to whom secrets are entrusted.
Anais Vionet Jun 22
The other day Lisa, Anna and I overheard a nonversation that took me back in time to high school. We were at Ascot for day three (ladies' day), to see the fashion, the silly hats, the horse races (called stakes & cups) and maybe even gawk at some famous people.

Anna, Lisa and I were sitting at our table in the Windsor Enclosure - a flat area right by the racetrack. The other five girls in our clique (Leong, Sunny, Kim, Bili, and Sophy) had stepped away to be ready for the royals arrival at 2pm sharp.  

Everyone was well dressed, men in waistcoat and tie, and we women in formal daywear. The table closest to us was populated with another squad of college age teens. We tend to be garrulous but that other mixed coterie (16 guys and girls) weren’t friendly at all. They were insular and sharp eyed - they projected an air of smirking pride - a bunch of edinas.

Suddenly this one girl at the next table just comes-at another girl verbally. There seemed nothing the target girl could do except hold her head up, put on her best debate-smile and weather it out.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been exposed to it, but the exclusionary voice of the rich, consists of acrid, inactively-terse asides delivered with casual, drive-by cruelty. The most insufferable rich think (know) that they’re better than you - like you know you’re better than a cabbage or a dog and they are merciless, their hearts are made of hard, black-card plastic.

When used on pretenders, interlopers or social mountain climbers - the cold and mesmerizing bluntness can have a deep psychological effect. The response is usually passive intimidation but it can also induce violence.

This attitude (I think of it as “the voice”), is learned by example, and mastered early. I heard an eight year old girl turn it on a sales clerk once. Her mom apologized and reined in the little princess - but where do you think she learned it from?  

Anna looked at me, her eyebrows drawn down in alarm, Lisa said “Wowzer.” I just shook my head and shrugged - it wasn’t our business, we certainly didn’t know those knobs or what kicked it off - but we noted who the mean girl was - Anna even took her pic. They were Cree-P.

Our little group was soon reunited. We briefly gossiped about our rude, socially-obsessed neighbors but the incident was soon forgotten. Our champagne and strawberries arrived moments before Princess Anne and her daughter, Zara Tindall, rode by (20 feet away) in the Lead Carriage.

Now THERE are some REAL, world-class snobs. I hate that whole-*** upper-class attitude. That’s one reason to choose Yale over Harvard - fewer snobs.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Garrulous: excessively talkative and friendly

Slang:
Nonversation = a worthless conversation
edina = Every Day I Need Attention / rich snobs
Cree-P = creepy

Song: Count your blessings by Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
Anais Vionet Jun 21
My emotions get the best of me - intermittently.
I preserve them in poems,
like fluffy dinosaur feathers in amber,
because emotions never last,
as our present becomes our past,
they flicker, like lightning bugs and disappear.
Anais Vionet Jun 17
It’s 1:30am and we were at a cute little dance club in Dublin called “The Sugar Club.” It’s a converted movie theater with tables in stadium seating rows. That night was Salsa themed, and the regulars were stylin’ - the men dressed in white Havana or Colima, Italian Linen and women in bright salsa dresses.

The DJ was mixing a gr8 groove - with music from Bassia, Brazilian Girls, Kate the Cat, with some ElectroSwing thrown in from Tape Five, Pink Martini and Doja Cat (Yes, I asked the DJ for his playlist). The tiny, darkly-disco-sparkling dance floor was crowded and refrigerator cold.

We had a good time. Irish guys are funny and unpredictable, they’ll say practically anything, “Shall I buy you a drink, or do you just want the money?” and those brogues make everything they say spankin’ hot.

We all danced a few times, but Sunny’s a gwyn who never seemed to tire. Guys kept asking her to dance and she seemed happy to oblige - I would have collapsed already.

There was a dead-fit guy, Rían, throwing a strong Chris Evans vibe, who seemed completely smitten with Sunny. He seemed a real dean but he didn’t 404 that Sunny’s femme-facing and that he might as well be offering lettuce to a shark.

We’d discussed the possibility that things might come up and decided to avoid delicate public acts of disclosure (Sunny’s gay, Leong’s a communist, etc..) - we’re trespassing different cultures on this trip, after all.

We explained to Rían that we were students, just in town for the Duran Duran concert, and consoled him with a couple of “Black & Golds” (Kahlua, whiskey and orange bitters) - he was a LOT of fun to talk to.

The bartender asked me if I was one of the colleens with “Margot Robbie” - he was referring to Lisa - which Anna found amusing - but I think Lisa’s way phater than Margot.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Oblige: favor someone’s request, or a favor.

gwyn =  a hot dancing queen
dead-fit = gorgeous
dean = a nice guy, a gentleman
404 = clued in to the fact
femme-facing = lesbian
phat = pretty, hot and tempting
Anais Vionet Jun 10
Another night of dreams,
one after another, flickering half images
echo real events but bare my heart.

I try on new realities,
like dazzling garments or popup stores
of evanescent wants I may not admit to myself.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: evanescent: something that vanishes quickly like a vapor
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