Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No No No No No No No... well maybe.

To the untrained eye, the French may seem like a snooty band of callous, self-serving bastards. You might have the impression that their sole pleasure in life is derived from causing you to run face-first into lamp-post because you're too busy trying to avoid the mine of poops in your path.

And the untrained eye would be right on the money, 99% of the time.

If the waiter behind the counter makes your eyes bulge trying to get his attention, I can say with near certainty that despite his icy exterior, he is smiling on the inside.

I'd go so far as to assume this is the only reason he took the job, and his mind is cluttered with mental snapshots of disgruntled customers.

If the demon working the desk at the prefecture when you're renewing your visa makes you think deportation is eminent, you've just made her day.

She is working in bureaucratic hell after all, why not throw back her head and let out an evil cackle when she reaches for the "Denied For Life You Pathetic Loser" stamp.

We have no defense against such potent evil. Or so I thought.

It's taken me four years and rivers of tears to learn that my very bestest friends over here are the words :

"You sure I can't just..."
"but..."
"what if I..."
"maybe I could..."
"and if I were to..."
"might it help if..."
"but if I came back in five minutes..."
"you see the thing is..."
"and this is not changeable, because I could..."
"is it possible to..."
"I really can't..."
"just to be sure, there's no way to..."

And all their annoyingly insistent friends.

They are your saving grace. Your lifelines.

You want to get your way? Then you're going to break out the heavy artillery. During a moment of need, persevere and pelt your target with never ending questions like your life depends on it.

Your irritating persistence will almost always triumph. People don't realize this tool is easy to master, and anyone's to wield.

I have several theories about why:

1. Off the charts factor.
You're REALLY obnoxious.
No, seriously. Everyone hates you in that moment. The other patrons waiting in line for their turn to feel small, the proud few who've beat the system, and especially, your froggy friend.

Despite the pure joy coursing through their veins when they tell you "NO!", after three or four times, the thrill is gone, and they want you to leave, die, or preferably, die while leaving.

2. Laws, schmaws factor:
Deep down, they don't really care. Yes this land is crowded with rebels, but the average French person doesn't feel a strong desire to uphold the letter of the law. Who am I kidding, they're more concerned about how their ass looks in the latest pantless outfit they bought. Rules were made to be broken... Or at least bent when faced with you.

3. Leggy blond factor:
This also applies to life in general. If there are two women of equal quality, (smart, fun, etc), the sexier one will come out on top. In this case, you want to be moche.

The longer you keep it up, the more desperate your neighbor gets. And thus, the more attractive he/she becomes.

Think about it: how much more fun is it to cruelly reject a squirmy, confused, on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown freak?

The Frog needs a story for their cigarette break, and your neighbor's uncomfortable dance of terror will do just fine.

So go forth and annoy my minions.

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