Monaco is, as far as I can tell, the Singapore of the Riviera. Lots of rules, regulations, not-s0-hidden video cameras and the cleanest streets I’ve laid eyes on. Ever. It’s odd being somewhere where French is spoken and not having to dodge mounds of dog shit every 30 seconds. Given all of this, it is a small wonder that I took the kids there today. But there were three clouds in the sky (oh how I readily shed my Seattlite toughness) and I was ready for a day trip. So we packed a bag and headed to the Musee Oceanographique, the aquarium.
It was all rather pleasant and uneventful. Some kid fell off the giant dinosaur play structure on the (stunning) rooftop playground and broke his arm, but neither the child nor the arm belonged to me. Plus, from what I gathered, if you’re going to spend time in an ER, it might as well be in Monte Carlo; I got a glimpse and that ambulance looked like Rihanna’s tour bus.
On our way home, at the impeccable Monte Carlo train station, Efram leaped onto the escalator and scaled the side of it as he ascended to the track. Both of his feet were on the left wall, he had one hand on the rail, and the other lassoing madly in the air, as if he wasn’t attracting enough attention. As I yelled at him to come down, he jumped, and got a Croc stuck in the escalator. I heard a bell and then the whole thing froze. Done. No more escalator.
Suddenly, all Monegasquan eyes are on me. God knows how many rules we just broke. As I watched everyone trudge up and stare us down I might have died of shame, but I was too busy eying the Croc, which, in addition to a busted strap, looked like it had a large bite taken out of the back. I know that I am prone to exaggeration, but I promise you there were large teeth marks in it.
Now I know I’ve had issues with Crocs before AND I know that Crocs on escalators can actually lead to all sorts of mishaps, but I was fuming. You must understand that Efram has never owned a new pair of Crocs before. They are the only shoes Bennett can pass down and therefore Efram has always been the recipient of whichever pair Bennett cast off. For reasons which will surely bore you, he actually got to choose a new pair this summer… and now that new pair looks like it’s been in the jaws of a sea monster.
Suffice it to say there is no law in Monaco prohibiting you from berating your child in public. Loudly.
I do have to add that while I am offering up nothing but horror stories, I am thrilled to be here. Over dinner tonight Bennett asked me what I like best about France, other than the sunshine (these poor kids think all of France is sunny, all the time). I love many, many things about it here and I always have, but I especially love being called “Madame.” It has none of the sourness of “Hey, lady!” and none of the sheer awfulness of “Ma’am” … and I truly love hearing it, even if it is often followed by something along the lines of “Please tell your loud and unruly child to come down from my tree.”