Yesterday morning on my way to school, I was walking down the street, minding my own business with my coffee mug in hand. I always bring some coffee with me for the walk for a few reasons but mainly that I don’t wake up in time to enjoy it before I have to leave. So anyway, there I am rocking out to some jamz on my ipod when I see this man coming from the other direction blatantly staring at me. At first I didn’t really think much of it because I have been creeped on enough times in this town to know better than to react. But as we got closer, I realized he wasn’t staring at me but rather at the mug in my hand. He stopped me, pointed at the mug and said “Is that alcohol?”
At which point I wanted to reply “I wish” but instead went for the more appropriate “no, it’s coffee.” He gave me a once over and asked “You aren’t French, are you?” to which I gave the obvious reply of “non, je suis americaine.” You should’ve seen the look on his face. It was like once I explained that I was American, everything became clear. He just grinned, and said “ahh! bon! bonne journee!” (have a nice day) and trotted off. Please also note that this man was wearing a little beret-like hat and carrying baguettes which just made this 10 times funnier.
Now I have been here long enough to also know that French people don’t do 2 things right about coffee. The first being all of their coffees are the teeny tiny espressos that could be part of a magic trick because in one single sip the coffee has magically disappeared. And two, they very rarely take their coffee to go. I have noticed some funny looks before but never have I been confronted about it.
So basically I learned a few things about myself in that 1 minute conversation. First, I look like someone who would be drinking alcohol at 9 am. And second, that despite my efforts to blend in as a Mulhouser, after 6 months I am still just a silly American girl with a funny accent and coffee to go.