I was in Paris for just six weeks, the hottest six weeks of the year, World Cup season, away from my husband and living away from London for the first time since I left the US as an exchange student eight years ago. After the Portugal-Ghana match, I walked over to dinner at Candeleria, a trendy Mexican bar/restaurant in the 3rd one of my coworkers wanted my authentic American opinion on. I got a seat at the bar and regretted it almost immediately. A rail-thin American woman was standing next to me in a tied-up crop top that was basically a long-sleeved bra, pouring drinks all over herself (and me) and wailing insincerely, “I’m soooooooo sorrrrrrrrrrrry!” In an attempt to set a good counterexample of My People I sat up straight and pointedly read Eric Hobsbawm, although this was on my Kindle so I think the snobby leftist intellectualism failed to come across. The bartender was an exasperated geek girl aged about 20 in a white-and-black-striped cotton shirt and dark blue skinny jeans, who looked like Velma from Scooby Doo and had not yet learned the Parisian customer service art of blithely not giving a shit.
I ordered a plate of guacamole and a chorizo taco (both excellent) and a SoCal-Mexican-style frozen margarita. The bar had two frozen margarita mixers, one pale green (lime) and one red (hibiscus). The man accompanying the drunk American woman pointed to the red one. “We’ll have two of those, I guess? Liz?” He was also American and had a beard and looked like an annoying Ryan Reynolds. Young Velma poured them and handed them over with a hopeful openness that made me want to take her home and explain about everything terrible in the world.