France, Interrupted

Location: France

Published: World Hum

Biarritz was winning. Or perhaps it was Paris. Either way, I was the only one who didn’t care. I wasn’t even sure whether we were tuned in to rugby league or rugby union—a major point of differentiation, I’d been told, in a sport I had yet to grasp. That I wasn’t watching the game probably didn’t help. My focus was on a boisterous woman named Marie, a 40-something blonde with the energy of an A-bomb and that quintessential French fashion sense that turns a pair of retro sneakers and a loosely knotted scarf into something otherworldly stylish. She was expounding on the virtues of sipping rosé at this hour of the day, when the sinking sun glows a similar raspberry hue—speaking in French and getting drunker by the minute. I was taking it all in as one big lesson.