Enticed by the sight of a blue sky from the sole window of our Airbnb, I moseyed back to the Parc de la tête d’or, because the park was too pretty to resist and I hadn’t seen the entire place yet.
When I finally found the lake, I eyed a pair of ducks as I descended to the water and left a paper boat for a certain someone–hopefully it doesn’t count as littering because paper’s biodegradable. And hopefully a duck doesn’t eat the boat and the quote I tucked into its mast.
My excursion resulted in two wholly different encounters with strangers. Stranger #1 asked me in Chinese if I was Chinese and whether I could speak Mandarin, and she seemed trustworthy because she had a toddler-sized child with her, so I said yes.
Turns out she wanted to borrow my phone to call someone, and even offered to pay me–and my brain could not find the proper words in Chinese, so I hastily reassured her in French that no money was necessary. After making two calls, she thanked me profusely and told Léa, her daughter, to thank me too, but the girl just smiled at me because she was shy.
We had a bit of small talk–whether I was born in France, what I was doing in Lyon, and then the inevitable “You’re already working? You’re so young. Are you in your teens?”
Me, somewhat despondently: “I’m actually 22.”
The mother then made sure that I knew how to get back to my apartment before saying goodbye, which was super sweet.
Stranger #2, unfortunately, was nowhere near as sweet. On my way back to the Airbnb, I passed a guy rearranging persimmons outside a corner store. He said bonjour, so I simply assumed he was being friendly and returned the greeting–then he asked, “Ça va?”; I replied “Oui, et vous?” and continued walking.
He shouted, “Wait, wait,” and actually chased me around the corner, so I turned confusedly, and he said, “Can I ask you a question?”
After I mumbled “Oui…?” he went straight for the jugular and asked, “Are you single?”
I immediately lied and said “Non,” to which he responded, “Me neither,” which didn’t make sense so I promptly lied again and said, “I have a boyfriend.” (Maybe I should’ve said that I have a girlfriend just to see the look on his face. Oh no, the gays are ruining the dating life for straight people!)
And do you know what this guy proceeded to do? Ask if he could give me his number. So I casually walked away instead of deigning him an answer–I don’t have patience for men who think women are objects.
Okay, enough saltiness–if anyone’s still reading, happy holidays!