I was in one of the larger grocery stores with Hippy-Love Francaise earlier this week, picking up my usual haul of milk and provisions for the Birth Control Bed and Breakfast when I noticed something strange.
The entire store was decorated in American flags. Everywhere. Along the checkouts, around the reception desk, across aisles, and around a huge display of cars made by Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler. Big pictures of men playing American football and the Grand Canyon with the text written in that old western style that reminds me of the old time photo places you find in tourist spots like Gatlinburg, Tennessee or Ocean City, Maryland.
When I went to pay for my stuff, I asked the checkout lady what the heck was going on.
"It's America Week," she said.
"Oh, that's nice," I replied. "I just didn't understand why there were so many of my flags all over that place."
"YOUR flags," she asked with her eyes and smile growing bigger, "Are you AMERICAN?."
Before I could even nod my head, she was yelling across the checkout to the store manager and pointing at me nearly screaming, "SHE'S AMERICAN! We have an AMERICAN in the store!"
The manager came sprinting over and started gushing all over about how funny it was to have an actual live American in the store during America week. At this point, I started bagging a my groceries just a teeny bit faster than normal and politely laughed along with her.
"You know," she said, " We're going to have country dancing in the store on Friday. Isn't that so American to have country dancing!"
"Yes," I replied with a smile, "Yes it is."
"We've also got some Harley Davidsons over there and all these great American cars! Isn't it just like being in America?!?"
"Yes, yes it is." I had no desire to burst her bubble. She seemed an awfully nice, and motivated, store manager.
I finally managed to get my things packed up and with a quick explanation of why I was an American living in France, Hippy-Love Francaise and I headed for the exits. It was Hippy-Love herself who made the best commentary on the whole situation.
"You know, Dig, if they had really wanted it to be 'America Week' they should have had a special offer on peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, Cheerios, zucchini bread, pancakes, and DVDs of 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Dr House.' Country dancing! My God!"
I could have hugged her for that.