It's not often that you make real genuine human contact in Paris. It's a very closed city; the women are beautiful but aloof, the men well-dressed but rude. Even the dogs manage to be spiteful by shitting all over the sidewalk. This dynamic is most noticeable when you enter a supermarket of some sort, where the checkout girl (I'm not being a sexist pig. At my local marker, Ed, she happens to be a woman) treats you as if you are doing her a great injustice by purchasing spaghetti and red sauce so you don't have to starve that night.
All of this changed today. I got to the checkout link just before it grew to epic proportions. There was only one person in front of me, and he only had a few things to buy. I secrectly did the arm pump and began to put my stuff on the conveyor belt. All of a sudden a high-pitched voice piped up from the back of the line.
"J'ai deux choses!"
It was an old woman proclaiming that she only had two items and that she wished to skip to the front of the line. French people in general have a fair amount of respect for their elders and so everyone just let her go. Not I, though; the girl had already started scanning my items. I got out my backpack just as she was saying to me, "Sept euros, s'il vous plaît." The total had come out to exactly seven euros; I kind of like it when that happens. I gave her a ten-spot and started to throw my stuff in my backpack.
I took the time to glance at the woman behind me and, of course, she had three things. I saw several people in line rolling their eyes. I was putting the last things in my backpack as the girl was checking out her stuff - two chicken breasts, some merguez, and three granny smith apples - and as I was slinging the pack over my shoulder, I heard, "Sept euros, s'il vous plaît." I turned to look at the total and there is was: 7.00€. The girl, who looked like she was of Indian origin, was cute, with a small shiny stud in her nose, but when we shared two or three seconds of smiling at each other, she suddenly became drop dead gorgeous. I left the store, unable to "wipe that smile off my face" for a couple of hours. My frozen pizza tasted better than usual tonight.