Last week, a friend emailed asking if I’d like to stay in a 5 star hotel near the Champs Elysées for free. No joke, and no strings attached. Hmmm…. Didn’t really have to think about this one. It was a resounding, hopefully not too whiny, “Yes, please, I beg of you….”
Mr French was just as thrilled as I had been, lets face it, moving is exhausting and we’d just moved two households into one. We needed a break. But with so much still to do and energy levels running low, it hadn’t actually occurred to us to plan one.
Friday night, 21h. My Valentine’s Day gift from Eres (blue, silk) is packed, the champagne is cold and my feet are imprisoned in a lovely pair of very high heels. I am ready to go. No word from Mr French. No response to my calls and not a single text. Génial. Since he usually calls as he leaves the office, which is generally around 20h, and this was supposed to be a special night, I was getting a bit miffed. Then worried. Then miffed again. My inner-Jewish mother having it out on the wrestling match with my inner femme.
Five minutes later Mr French walks in the door; clearly exhausted and not a little stressed. But still smelling delicious. It can be hard to stay angry with a man who smells so good. Before I even have a chance to express my irritation, he sighs, announcing,
“The strike is over, we signed 30 minutes before I left the office.”
My eyes pop out of my head, as I stand there looking like a Hanna Barbara character, the gears tumbling around up there. The implications of those first four words starts to unfold. Our get away had been in jeopardy and I hadn’t even realized it. If the strike had continued Mr French would have had to work all weekend trying to find a solution. Not sure how I’d dropped the ball on the game. I had just been on strike myself, yet it hadn’t even occurred to me!
Cultural lesson #168 – In France, if your company goes on strike, you don’t go on holiday.
Lesson learned, we were off on holidays, now with even more to celebrate!
Hotel Plaza Champs Elysées