Will He or Won’t He

One of my good friends, who’s been living in Europe for the past eight years, announced the other day that he’s probably moving back to the states.

Thinking about it, he probably…

won’t have to get all dressed up to go to the store to buy a hammer or a sponge or a pencil.

won’t have to wear clothing that actually fits.

will have to learn the difference between ‘relaxed’ and ‘casual’ fit.

won’t have to talk about anything except real estate prices.

won’t have to worry about anything except the price of gas and Paris Hilton.

won’t have to wonder what all the fuss is about Eurovision.

will get to shop on Sundays.

will get to shop after 7pm.

will get to shop 24/7.

will have to get a prescription to get prescription drugs.

will have to worry about getting arrested for mooning and being registered as a sex offender.

will get to return absolutely anything, no matter what condition it’s in, without a three hour discussion about it and several reams of paperwork to fill out.

will get to have his medical decisions made by someone more knowledgeable than his doctor.

will wonder who thinks Ann Coulter deserves more than three seconds of time on public airwaves.

won’t have to worry about anyone else in the world.

Unless they’ve come up with something cool to buy.

won’t have to know who Ralitsa Vassileva, Femi Oki, Fionnuala Sweeny, Hala Gorani and Richard Quest are.

will be able to get panicky minute-by-minute weather forecasts which track each drop of rain and gust of wind (which go ballistic is there’s even a remote possibility of a storm) on the local news station.

will be able to get minute-by-minute playbacks of Paris Hilton entering and leaving prison as well as various celebutants going in, and out, of rehab.

won’t have to explain, “Talk to the hand, girlfriend” has nothing to do with a hand or a girlfriend.

won’t have to worry about seeing a woman’s breast on television.

will have to worry about seeing a woman’s head blown to smithereens on television.

will get to witness every phase in the life of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby, courtesy of Larry King.

will have to talk at parties about real estate prices, his kitchen remodel, the noise his wine refrigerator makes, how his stock options are doing, how difficult it is to find sheets with an acceptable thread count, what an asshole his contractor is, and who will be the next co-host on The View.

won’t get to walk just outside his front door to find fresh bread.

will have to drive to the other side of his city to find fresh bread.

won’t have to worry about getting sick from any of those scary raw-milk cheeses those crazy Europeans eat.

won’t have to obsess about le cholestérol.

will have to obsess about carbs.

And fat.
And free-radicals.
And polyphenols.
And anti-oxidants.
And growth hormones.

will completely understand what his haircutter is telling him so he doesn’t end up looking like his scalp got stuck in a trash disposal, or a greased-up Mohawk.

will get to watch Food Network as much as he wants.

will learn what a ‘tablescape’ is.

will feel his brain turn to mush.

will actually get to pick out for himself the food he’s wants at the market.

will be able to sleep on a sidewalk for three days waiting to buy an overpriced electronic gadget that will be widely available the following day. And cheaper, next month. And obsolete, next year.

will be able to call customer service lines…for free!

…but won’t understand a word they’re saying since they live in far-away lands—but that’ll be okay since they’ll have no idea what he’s talking about either.

won’t have to trim his underarm hair anymore.

won’t have to carry a man-purse anymore.

won’t have to worry if there’s going to be a bathroom around.

won’t have to argue if the cashier rings up the wrong price at the supermarket.

…but he won’t have to worry about a nice place to stay in Paris complete with daily visits to the fish-boys, our open bar tab at a certain hot-spot in Lyon, finally going to Chez Pauline for poulet de Bresse and Thanksgiving dinner…wherever we are.

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  • July 9, 2007 6:36am

    I don’t think I could do it. I have actually formulated a plan for re-entry in case the dollar continues to stay so low and I cannot make it here, but I can’t say I am confident that it would work. If I ever made a good American, I don’t think I am that person anymore. I suspect I never did it well anyway.

    I wish him luck.

  • Lorna
    July 9, 2007 9:26am

    So true. Last weekend I worried headed into Walmart at 7am…that I needed to brush my hair better than I had. I immediately became unconcerned with my appearance when I saw another customer wearing her pajamas at the checkout. And they were apparently pajamas from Christmas…..little reindeer all over them…in July.


  • July 9, 2007 9:27am

    Well this is very helpful for one headed your direction for 30 days..
    But please translate
    “Talk to the hand, girlfriend”
    Sounds like you’re homesick?

  • the pauper
    July 9, 2007 10:42am

    haha, will have to talk about real estate prices. so true… but life would be easier if we could just move to Kansas and get free land

  • Bob
    July 9, 2007 11:45am

    “…won’t have to obsess about le cholestérol” You’re wrong about this one. Cholesterol is about the only thing doctors seem to care about over here. He’ll be on statin drugs within a month, guaranteed.

  • Bob
    July 9, 2007 12:36pm

    “…will have to get a prescription to get prescription drugs” Please explain this. We are planning to move to Paris within the next year or so and prescription drugs are a necessity for me. I thought one needed a prescription (at least, that’s what the lady at the pharmacie told me).

  • mk
    July 9, 2007 1:16pm

    i don’t get the one about having medical decisions made by somebody more knowledgeable than his doctor. what are you getting at there?

  • July 9, 2007 1:35pm

    mk: Last time I was back in the US for an extended period, I went to my doctor and he referred me to a specialist, which my insurance company (an HMO at the time) denied.

    So I guess they felt they knew what was better for me than my doctor!

    Bob: Like the US, Pharmacists in France are highly-trained but they’re given much more leeway (albeit unofficially) if you’re in dire need of something. But it’s not the norm, ; )

    Lorna: Well, I hope those jammies were washed between now and then. Christmas was, like five months ago!

    Judith: You’d better stay put…we need you.

  • July 9, 2007 3:53pm

    Thanks for the good laugh. I lived in Lyon for a bit and every single one of those descriptions is spot on! Now you’ve reminded me of all those things and I’m missing fresh baguettes and unpasteurized cheeses terribly. Looks like it’s time for a vacation.

  • July 9, 2007 5:08pm

    Don’t get it about the bathrooms..I worry about that wherever we are, when little ones need to go there isn’t time to waste..funny thing but today at Place des Vosges, I inquired of a lovely, regal old lady as to the nearest bathroom and her reply?
    Pour votre fils? Il peut faire pipi derriere un arbre..” I was shocked..I didn’t think the French allowed that but it was all the encouragement we needed!

    I always think that Paris is the land of bathrooms but the woman also informed me that the “toilettes” on the streets aren’t very clean and that people get stuck in them. In the past they seemed fine but I haven’t tried them this time.

  • Brenda
    July 9, 2007 5:55pm

    Trim his underarm hair? Really?

  • dl2
    July 10, 2007 5:42am

    Thanks for the laugh and all your help in the decision making process. Shall I make reservations at Chez Pauline for my Bday?! Or better yet, let’s just head to Lyon and run up that bar tab………I have a friend who would let us stay at his place. And yes Brenda….trim the underarm hair – HELLO!
    Have a good day.

  • July 10, 2007 8:22am

    …will have to start every conversation with “What do you do?”

    …won’t have access to all those fabulous drugs from le pharmacien that work (and then some) but the FDA won’t approve.

    …will gain 10 pounds.

  • July 10, 2007 10:59am

    So, so, so true. Evertime I go back to Europe, I feel myself being transformed. Suddenly wearing heels, neck scarves, make-up, doing your hair becomes such a neccessity- God forbid anyone see me with out all those things.It’s actually kind of nice.
    I think living in NYC is a good compromise if you live in the USA.

  • July 10, 2007 11:53am

    Malheureusement, everything you just said is true , but you forgot: ” you will be so excited to pay $5 for a coffee that has a never ending name that you wouldn’t mind spending 15min in line to have it and 2 min at the cashier to pronounce it”

  • July 10, 2007 11:54am

    David – Great perception, I see you have been back to the US recently. I have lived each one of them over the last three years. I lived much the same when I moved to Italy, after awhile I was dreaming of a greasy McDs (horrid I know).

  • July 10, 2007 7:36pm

    This cracked me up. I am in the process of moving to Rome (I pray the dollar gets stronger by then) and people stateside keeping asking me why? Your list sums it up.

    p.s. I finally rec’d your book from Amazon. I am loving it. So many recipes to try out.

  • Brenda
    July 10, 2007 8:40pm

    Psssst–No one says, “Talk to the hand, girlfriend” anymore.

    …will seem dated by using “Talk to the hand, girlfriend.”

  • July 11, 2007 2:55am

    Brenda: Since he’s always looking for dates, that’ll be perfect!

    FigsOliveWine: I got yelled at my first week here at a party for asking someone what they did for a living. What a jerk he was (!)…but what a lesson…

  • Sfox0317
    July 11, 2007 1:11pm

    This is hilarious. May I suggest another

    … will gladly pay for overpriced foods at Whole Foods simply because of the “ambiance”

  • July 12, 2007 12:41pm

    Ugh. As if I weren’t wallowing in post-trip despair quite enough, now I’m finding new depths.