How have I made all of these food friends in Paris? I compulsively seek out people who are trapped behind counters and forced to listen to my tales of woe. I show up at the same places and overshare to people who are paid to be pleasant to me until they develop a form of Stockholm syndrome that makes us friends.
It was startling to realize that my ham purveyor is a more consistent presence in my life than any friend, family member or romantic interest. Sometimes, I think I need to make some lifestyle changes so that the first person who would realize that I was missing or dead is not the man supporting my ham habit.
Other days, when we’ve had a good gossip and I’m stuffed full of charcuterie and he has given me a pocket sausage for the road, I think I’m doing it right after all.
I used to be able to count on my mother to be the one to track me down in the event of my untimely murder; lord knows she has imagined plenty of gruesome ends for me. I can’t tell you the number of times that public safety officers showed up on my doorstep in college because I hadn’t returned her calls swiftly enough.
Now, she doesn’t know how to call my phone number in France. She struggles to put on her seatbelt. Her brain and body (and seatbelt) just don’t click in the right way anymore.
Two months after I moved to France, she learned she had Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative brain disorder. My parents told us on Mother’s Day. By us, I mean they told my two sisters in person and then, as a family, called me on Skype. Throughout that conversation, my mother’s concern was not for herself or her future but for me, because they were together to process the news while I was alone.
More Info: www.nytimes.com