WOW, did I wear an ugly outfit to coffee ("cafe" in France) yesterday! I am still wondering what in the world I was thinking. OK, I know the answer - what I was thinking. I was thinking that I should look proper for an afternoon coffee. I was thinking that I haven't really gone shopping for myself in oodles and oodles of months and the best appearance I can pull off on a daily basis is mountain mom or sporty mom. And I was thinking that I was about to meet three women that I had never met before so they wouldn't know whether this awful jacket I was about to wear was my normal style or a surprise appearance. After sorting through my closet, I found an old Ann Taylor business jacket I had brought to France for who knows what reason. I noticed it's fine pleats. It's stylish lines. It's shiny, fancy buttons. It's puffy shoulders. It's awful pattern. And we had a winner. I decided wearing a nicely pressed jacket (albeit quite ugly) would be better than my daily staples normally paired with red Privo shoes (ie. comfortable).
So, I rushed to get dressed. Thankfully I was running late so I had little time to question this decision. I slipped on my jeans - too tight. I prefer to hang dry my jeans - these had slipped into the dryer somehow and now they were painted on and too short. At that point I vowed to never wash these jeans ever again. I don't care how dirty they get, I need them at their best at all times. I paired my jacket with an equally atrocious turtle-neck, a somewhat dated necklace and the finishing touch were my boots that didn't match any of the get-up. But hey - I looked proper - improperly. Et Voila! I was ready for coffee!
I walked to coffee with my raincoat in my hands (it's Normandy people, NEVER leave home without a rain jacket). For one thing it was a little warm with this wolly jacket on but I also was curious to see what passerby's might think of my outfit. Just as I suspected. They thought my jacket was ugly, too. When I arrived at my host's house, she was as polite as could be. But in my defense I really pulled it off well. I acted like this jacket was THE jacket - so why would she question my choice? The reality, though, is that she was just really nice. As were the two other women who came to coffee. So in the end, my ugly jacket persevered. But all through coffee I kept thinking about who I might be able to pawn this ugly mess off to. A true friend wouldn't do that, so I have decided just to donate it - that is even a questionable action...
Now, why in the world am I even telling you about all this ugly jacket stuff? Because it's funny, silly stuff that we all go through each and every day and I thought you might be able to relate. But I am also telling you because there is something here, something very important that French people do often that I think we should adopt ourselves in the United States. What is it? HAVE COFFEE! Not chug-a-coffee or grab-a-coffee-and-go-coffee. I mean sit down and really linger over a cup of coffee or tea with friends, family members or co-workers. Order the coffee and then grab a table at Starbucks. Make the coffee at your house and drink it in that room you only let visitors enter twice a year. And just linger. Chat. And when the coffee cup is empty, refill it if you want. Or don't! But keep chatting. Laughing. Stay a while longer. Why not?
We get so jammed up these days with jobs, kids, soccer, church, appointments, the gym - I am
tired just saying all that! But we rarely make plans to grab a coffee with a friend or sister or even our spouse in the middle of the day - some time to relax and catch up before the next big event.
So, I may be leaving France soon. But I will be taking something with me. NO, it is not the ugly jacket. I will be taking coffee breaks with me. So watch out world! You may be getting an invitation to coffee in the near future. I suggest you accept willingly, without force, and wear the ugliest jacket you can conger up.
Coming up in the next blog? Something that might actually be of value...but no promises.
Have a great day!
P.S. Though I am very tempted, I simply cannot share a picture of this ugly jacket, as I might offend someone, somewhere in this world who is actively sporting this unique jacket as we speak.