Saturday, July 26, 2008

Me and Mickey D

What is it with me and McDonald's? I'm seriously obsessed with the place. About once a day, I consider whether I should go there. In the States, I might have one of their sundaes two or three times a year and a breakfast sandwich twice that often. I don't eat the hamburgers and I haven't even had the tasty fries in months.

But, somehow, being in Paris, land of excellent and numerous restaurants, I'm drawn more than ever to a comprehensible menu with predictable outcomes and moderate, if not low, prices.

Still, besides my indulgence of two hamburgers in a week that one time, I've only been once since for a coffee and sundae. That was two weeks ago. This morning, though, I needed to go to pick up my train tickets for Holland. The ticket "boutique" is right next to the McDonalds so decided to have coffee and an egg McMuffin.

As usual, ordering was slow, even though there was only one small family in front of me. When I ordered my egg sandwich and "double latte" (that's exactly how it reads on their menu!), I got my food very quickly and was charged two euros. Now, I have to say that is about as cheap a breakfast as you could get anywhere in Paris. Yes, the coffee comes from a machine, but so what? It tasted good and was twice the size of an average espresso. Also, I was expecting the whole thing to cost about 50 euro cents more. But when I looked again at the breakfast menu board, over to the right and hidden away, something the clerk said to me finally made sense: "duo." Turns out, I'd ordered the "duo special" which is one coffee and one something else (the list was in such fine print that I could not read it!) for two euros. Ok, good for me! I suspect I'll be going there again, though I have taken to making coffee and eggs at home some mornings (like yesterday). This is a good option--the main drawback is that this Mickey D's is in the basement of a shopping mall. I wonder if the same deal is offered at the more aesthetically pleasing locations?

After getting my tickets and eating my breakfast, I went grocery shopping at the Champion also located in the basement of the mall. Nothing too exciting happened but I was accosted by a woman who asked me about the two boxes of Henna she held. I could not figure out exactly what she was asking though I think it was what color Henna each was. One box said "auburn" so I was able to point to some other hair-coloring agents to indicate which it was most like. The other box had a word I didn't recognize but seemed lighter. Also, the woman didn't seem to be speaking French! It was really the blind leading the blind. I said I didn't speak French at one point but she didn't disengage so I was stuck trying to help her for a few more minutes before I could break away politely. I have to ask: why me? 1) I don't speak French! 2) I don't dye my hair! Didn't she see all the gray I have sticking out? (Maybe not, in some light it doesn't show--but still!)

On a side note, I went to see Hancock on Thursday. What an odd movie. I liked the first part--superhero, or person with superpowers, doing more harm than good. It would have been interesting to see his decline rather than just the nadir of his existence but it was still ok. But the second part of the movie? It didn't make any sense. So many plot holes that weren't filled by the cursory and clumsy exposition. It's like they said: enough talking, just have them fight! Um, ok. I'm all for the fighting (sort of) but it doesn't exactly substitute for an explanation of why anything that happens actually happens.

There's also been a mini-festival of Douglas Sirk films in Paris. Only three, but I've now been to two: Written on the Wind and yesterday, The Tarnished Angels. (The third is Imitation of Life which I've seen a few times and is a bit too over-the-top melodramatic for my taste.) I was never a big Sirk fan, but I have new-found admiration for him--or at least for these films. The Tarnished Angels was melodramatic and but I enjoyed it a lot. It helps that it starred Rock Hudson, one of my favorites, doing his best to look slightly dissipated. Kind of like Keanu Reeves in "Street Kings" those incredibly good looks peeking out from stubble and drunken swagger make the character more down to earth and likable. Even the beautiful have their flaws. Dorothy Malone was also quite good and toned it down appropriately for the part, though she does emote flagrantly for much of the picture.

Yes, I have devoted much of my time to movie going rather than museum visiting--but that's ok, right? I am a movie connoisseur and I'm really enjoying getting to see these obscure and hard to find films--and seeing some old favorites. I do think I should write about it more, though, but I'm often uninspired. Ah well. It's unlikely that I'll reform, but you never know.

Grateful for: old movies.

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