WHY DOES ALL OF FRANCE CLOSE ON SUNDAYS??? When I have THINGS to be doing??? Or a lack of things now, as the case may be. (Angriness). I made it about halfway down the stairs before remembering that all of the supermarchés close at 12:30 on a Sunday, and it is now 12:40. What am I supposed to do now?? I can’t go eating sandwiches an hour before schedule, and me and Karim have exhausted all of our joint vocabulary on ‘reasons why I should go to Tunisia’. (Karim is quite the Tunisian ambassador, and is most insistent on the topic -a variety of multi-media persuasion tools have been employed, and he refuses to believe that I cannot be entertained there). I have a project to visit an Irish pub later to beg for work, but they don’t open until 16:30.

I have come to the stage where I have now applied for all of the appropriate jobs advertised within a 20km radius, and I have realised that when you offer your services unsolicited, you are met with a look that is half way between sympathetic and insulted, and words I do not quite understand but that generally convey “no, if we wanted someone, we would have advertised like normal people, you imbecile”. So apparently that is not how the system works here. Which is partially limiting, as I am now left with few options but waiting for new ads on the internet (I only allow myself to check once a day). However, it is also kind of liberating, as it frees me from the constant guilt of feeling that I haven’t yet visited Every Single Establishment in the Area and its Surrounds.

In fairness, I have plenty to do, and my guilt can always find somewhere to hang its hat. Its hat is currently resting casually on my grammar book, which is looking at me sulkily every time I breeze past it. I also have some considerable Gabriela-related guilt. Which is mainly her own fault, but that is no reason I can’t feel guilty about it. She being Spanish probably doesn’t even have a word for guilt, so one of us has to shoulder the burden. It started on Thursday -would I like to come to Lyon? Not on your nelly, Gabriela, is what I did not say but conveyed more politely. Was I sure I would not like to come to Lyon? No I am quite sure, I was there not so long ago Gabriela, and I don’t want to pay €35 to go on a bus with you and feel demoralised for 16 hours, but thank you for the invite. And yet, a THIRD time, they have decided to go to Lyon on Saturday, and did I want to come? NOOOOOOOO! No to Lyon, no to bus, and no to the fifteen events you shared with me on Facebook in the time it took me to write my refusal! At this point though, my responses have become a bit faster, as I no longer care about making grammatical errors in my Facebook messages to Gabriela. However, she pulled a right fast one on me with one of these events, suggesting one that she had already seen someone else sharing with me, in which I had publicly and foolishly relayed an interest. I really have to reinstate my Facebook Lurker status. It was a wine tasting event, and I like tasting wine. So I had to admit that I was going with a friend, and agreed to invite her along when we agreed a date. However, that is where the guilt comes in. I socially manoeuvred it to go wine tasting on Saturday, with the Hungarian and co. Will you come along Gabriela, I say innocently. Ah but i am in LYON on Saturday, and I cannot. Oh LYON, Gabriela, you’re right, I totally forgot you mentioned that.. Fifteen times.. Désolé… So now I have Spanish guilt. Exacerbated no doubt by said wine, which was much tasted and much tasty. Regardless, the irrepressible Gabriela suggested going dancing apres-Lyon, when she arrived back at midnight. Is she high or what???? Dancing? Starting at midnight? I cannot cope with Spanish people, and their beautiful skin and relentless energy. Give me a pasty Irish potato with a bad temper and a drink problem any day of the week I say.

The wine tasting turned out to be fun (level: mild-to-moderate). Fun plusses included the Hungarian and the Wine; fun minuses: the presence of a 22 year old American whose family were Republicans, and her French boyfriend who got drunk from sucking on a sugar cube. Okay there were three drops of alcohol pipetted into it by a portly salesman who claimed his name was ‘Frére Jacques’, but it was hardly cause for the glassy eyes that ensued. We all went for pizza together later on (I boldly took a digestive enzyme), and the conversation started to suffer. Perhaps it can be excused by too many people who don’t know each other spending too much time together, but suffice to say that the iPhones got pulled out, and certain members among us started sharing YouTube videos. Which were weird and not funny, and kind of made me feel like I had been taking acid. In fact, the American girl revealed that she has gotten her boyfriend into the habit of watching YouTube videos of people popping pimples -apparently there is a whole channel for this. Disgusting and baffling, in equal measure. It is also baffling to me, the level of inanity that people are willing to tolerate just to avoid being alone. So as you can imagine, the evening got a bit draining, and I was never so happy to leave them all at a tram stop in the cold and skip off to Northern Africa. Sauna city baby, and I had the place to myself. Bliss.

And now happily, it is sandwich time, so I will bid you adieu.