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« Freaking Europe, part 2 | Main | Too close to the heart »

Freaking Europe

This might be my longest story of all; this might be the most horrible vacation ever. But, sunny little freak I am, I've got to dish and wind up putting a good spin on it...
C3 and I had a beautiful wedding. We're the farthest thing from traditional, so we approached the Big Day as a giant party for us and everyone we love. Sidebar: do you know how hard it is to have a secular wedding ceremony in the South?
Anyhow, we did our best to host a faboo time in Hot Springs despite being out of our minds. It was wonderful, it nearly killed us, and I will never get married again.
Anyhow, we dreamed of our honeymoon, and we were determined to make it spectacular. Two years later, with hopes of expanding our music internationally, we set off.
Have you ever been in a situation in which all heaven and earth is giving you signs to abort your plans? And did you carry on, with your bull head? I did, and I don't recommend it.
We figured out the very best plan. Fly to Chicago, enjoy the city for a couple of days, then hop on the Trans-Atlantic flight to Germany. We'd shipped all our goods to the apartment we'd rented; I purchased international cell phones; I brushed up on my French. We even called ahead to arrange a 5:00 am cab pickup to get us to the airport...
The cab was an hour and a half late. We tried, but when we realized we had less than an hour to make the flight, we gave up, went back home, and refigured The Plan. Immediately, we packed the minivan and drove to Chicago; it took up the weekend we'd planned to enjoy, but we got to the airport in time. Clay had used the last of his frequent flyer miles to get us first class seats and thank God... Neither of us fly well. Clay hates it, I get irritated, so Bloody Marys sounded just grand. It was boarding time by the time we realized that the Cobb-ays the crew kept calling were us. We barely made it, but by God, we were going.

We landed in Dusseldorf, with plans to catch the train to Amsterdam. German is not one of my languages; I got us on the wrong connecting train. I must say, though, 7 am in Dusseldorf is quite fast paced, and sleepy tourists are not popular. Anyway, after thirty minutes on the platform in the rain, I figured out that we weren't going the right way- we scrambled across the tracks toting our vitals, and got on the right to Amsterdam!
Our visit there was sublime. We met the most engaging people there (yeah, Buddy Stone!), and generally had a great time.
And then, we hopped the train to Paris, and all our planning went to shit. We showed up, expecting a turnkey apartment, but the loathsome landlord needed us to call him. Our cell phones worked, but in Italian. Italian is not one of my languages. Dragging our luggage, we trudged up and down Montmarte, until we found an English speaking waitress who loaned us her phone. We finally got the keys to our rental from an unbelievably bitchy man (I still hate you, Alexander DeLimoges...yeah, I said it) and collapsed inside.
Strange things started happening then. Everything electric blew. I turned C3 on to Nina Simone, then the CD player died. I turned on the only lamp in the front room and it exploded. There was alleged Internet access that did not connect. Of all the packages we shipped, my clothing didn't make it. I made the best of it until the fourth pantie hand washing, and then I got pissed. Seriously, underpants from Chicago to the Netherlands to Germany to France... I am very well aware that everyone believes that fashion simply falls from the sky in Gay Paree, but just make that Metro trip in wet drawers down to the Monoprix in a killer November rain, I fucking dare you. Really, I dare you.
We arrived on a Monday, my clothes arrived Thursday afternoon. Everything was all Milhouse, I thought. In the early morning hours, I woke up to C3 shaking me. My hair was wet, so was my face, and I was confused . He told me I'd had a seizure, I had turned blue, gone rigid, foamed from the mouth. I had never seen him afraid before and it scared me. I didn't believe him...
That weekend happened to be the grape harvest festival in the streets of Montmarte, and we were excited to attend, despite my apparent seizure. We walked to the main square, I remember the late fall sunshine, I collapsed. Clay had to leave me and run to a pharmacy for help as I twitched on the pavement. The streets were closed for the oompah-pah band, so only fire trucks were allowed in the square. The firemen carried me to their truck, and they took me to the nearest hospital. I had another seizure in the lobby; it took four firefighters and three nurses to hold me down. I was dying. Clay was doing absolutely everything to save me, but they didn't understand him. They threw us out.
He carried me across the street, we sat on a bus bench waiting for another attack. I don't remember any of this...but he does.
I have to stop here...

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