Last night, as I made my way to her surprise birthday party, I was engaged, as I often am in our quartier, reading a book as I walked down the street. Using my peripheral vision, I avoided the crottes, didn't walk into a pole, and made it all the way to the little Place before I realized I had somehow missed the street I was supposed to turn on. Without my little map, I was quite lost. I knew it was very nearby, but none of the spokes of this place were the right one. I also knew that just randomly wandering and trying to stumble onto the right place is generally a very bad idea in Paris.
I looked around, to see if there was anyone nearby who could help. Just then, two police officers rode up on their bicycles, and seeing my obvious look of distress, stopped to
"I'm looking for Avenue Edison."
"Avenue. Edison. Avenue Edison."
"You live in this quartier?"
"Yes, I live here, and it's my friend's place and I know it's really close, but I don't know exactly where."
The taller policeman keeps looking at me, trying to waste time, while the short, dark haired one pulls out his pocket map book, looking for the right arrondissement.
"Rue Addison?" the taller one says, still staring at me, with a half-smirk on his face.
At this point, I was getting a little tired of his not-helping-just-keeping-me-talking-so-he-could-continue-staring-at-me.
"Edison. Like Thomas Edison."
He looked at me blankly.
"Thomas Edison? The American inventor? The light bulb?"
"Edison. E-D-I-S-O-N. Edison."
His friend was shaking his head as he found the name of the street, and began to quickly turn the pages of his map to figure out where we were.
A lady came up behind them on the street.
"Avenue Edison? Yes, it's right behind that building. Go down this street, and it's the first right."
The French love to celebrate anything good or important that's french. They learn to recite the names of the Kings of France back to Clovis back in 486 AD, they can list the Presidents of La Belle France for any of the five different republics, but don't ask them the name of the guy who participated in the invention of telephone, phonograph, electric railway, iron ore separator, and electric lighting. Though he had patents in France, he wasn't French.
I wonder if they've ever heard of Gutenberg. He was German, you know.
**PS for some reason, the accents aren't working on Blogger (they didn't work the other night, either, for some reason). Annoying. I am not trying to miss them, really I'm not!