“Ce Mec”—or, “That Guy” in France

My colleague, Len, and I are on the road again, this time in France. I wrote a story about him called, Don’t Be “That Guy” last year when we were in Mexico. He got a kick out of it, and even though I ended by saying one should never be “that guy” more than once, I figure this time he can be “ce mec”…the French version.

We had a whirlwind few days in France, landing in Paris at 8 a.m. completely exhausted. We had a one and a half hour drive to the hotel and had to be at the plant early the next morning. We decided to stay in Paris for the rest of the day since we would have nothing to do at our destination. It took us an hour and a half through rush hour traffic to get to the city center, but in the end it was worth it. Along with another colleague, fortunately a Frenchman, we managed to see many sights. An April day in Paris could easily have been cold and rainy, but instead the weather was perfect…warm and sunny.

We got day passes for Le Metro and then went down to the Seine to take a boat tour on the Bateaux-Mouche (fly boat, supposedly named this for the many eyes a fly has and the many good spots on the boat where you can see the sights. We saw many, many sights…everything that can be seen on the Seine. An hour and a half later when we got off, however, Len had quite a sunburn.

We ate lunch at a bistro out on the sidewalk, of course! We walked all over the place including through the Tuileries Gardens, around the Arch de Triomphe, and around Sacré Coeur. By this time, I had determined that my injured calf must be healing well (of course, three triple-doses of Motrin a day helped), but walking around in the wrong shoes I had developed painful blisters on one foot. After dinner at a small restaurant, we finally headed to the hotel. I had had a small taste of Paris, and I wanted more. Someday…

In the meantime I had tours to take, walking on cement floors with blistered feet. I was a drag, slowing everyone down. I had become “cette fille”! Throughout it all, Len had enjoyed practicing his French and using his favorite expressions liberally. His two favorites were bon chance (good luck) and c’est magnifique (that’s magnificent). I mostly said things in French like, thank you, good day, yes I have breakfast, a fork please, I don’t speak French, and red wine please.

When the visit was over, we drove back to Paris and got on a train to Poitiers. Arriving around 7 p.m. at our hotel, we soon went out for dinner. We had a lovely dinner at a place known for its beef, then looked around for the night life. Two Americans and a Frenchman ended up at a Canadian bar. I guess this is a quiet town and only the expats stay out on a Thursday night!

Friday morning, another plant tour and more limping on blistered feet by me. At the end, Len told the management that the tour had been très magnifique! As we left he called out, bonjour, bonne chance, bonne journée! We all cracked up at his enthusiasm and how a Renoir was très magnifique, but a plant tour was decidedly not. The cab driver was probably trying not to roll his eyes. That’s when I asked our French colleague how to say “that guy” in French. Ce mec!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself!

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