It’s like that

C'est comme ça.

My new friend Martin, who is German, tells me this is how you survive in Paris: it's like that. Whenever you run into something that seems specifically, inexplicably Parisian, that no amount of explaining can clarify (not that any will be offered), all you can do is throw up your hands and sigh c'est comme ça.

For instance.

My other survival phrase: Ou sont les toilettes?

+ I have yet to meet anyone here who is actually from Paris. Maybe later this week.

+ My favorite French game comes courtesy of Rosecrans Baldwin.

A minute later we gave the game over to the French: “Who wins, Coca-Cola or Uma Thurman?”

The French didn’t answer and remained staring out the windows—it might have been Battersea, or Shepherd’s Bush. Then the French director said, “That is not a game.” He started coughing. “It is so Anglo, this game. It is not a game. How do you judge this? It is a soda and a woman. Then how do you decide?”

“One wins, one loses. Just pick,” I said. But he refused: “It is nothing a French person would think is a game. It is so stupid.”

The traffic wasn’t moving. I asked him to suggest a French game instead that we could play. “OK, OK, here is a French game,” he said. “We will talk about something for a little while. It will be about nothing. We will talk and talk and talk about it. Sometimes I will take the other side of the conversation, just to say you are wrong. And then we will stop.”

He resumed his brooding silence. The composer turned to say he agreed, this was a classic French game.

This afternoon an old man walked up and down the street ringing a cowbell for 45 minutes. C'est comme ça!