Some of you may have thought I was joking when I imitated Sally Fields in Not Without My Daughter and to some extent I was. However, somewhere deep inside of me, I knew Fred was too good to be true. And now I have proof. I became suspicious when I became violently ill on New Year's Day after enjoying a four course meal, champagne, and wine with my loving husband. Or perhaps it was the undercooked chicken kebob that I purchased from the street vendor at 2:00 a.m. as we stumbled home on New Year's Eve. Whichever, I'll admit that Fred did attend to me for several days, responding to my beckon call, cleaning up after me, and finding the remote control when I had misplaced it just a few inches to the right of my left-hand. But, there was something sinister in his caring smile.
A few weeks later, when my little toe nail inexplicably fell off, my suspicion elevated to Yellow Alert. I should have started testing the water at that point. But love is blind.
In February, I fell ill again. This time cheese was the "culprit". Fred and our neighbor Jean (aka "the coconspirator downstairs") said that it probably was the croute [crust, rind, skin] of the cheese. They opined that my tender American digestive system was not yet accustomed to the French microorganisms and predicted that it could take months for me to develop a resistance to the "molds" that were wreaking havoc on my innards. I was told to slowly introduce the culinary culprits into my diet. Because I ate cheese by the boatloads in San Francisco, as well as in Bordeaux during many vacations, I'm a little suspicious of this theory.
However, last week, having been lulled into a false sense of security, I indulged in a piece of Brie (and Comté and Roquefort). What a lucky girl I thought. My husband went shopping to select my favorite cheeses and even prepared my plate for me. Lucky girl? Silly girl! The next day, I was sick to my stomach. Poisoned. Again. Orange Alert!
I guess I shouldn't take it personally. It seems they do it to all North Americans, including Canadians (only the English speaking part). On Saturday, Fred and I were walking through Les Galeries Lafayette. We noticed a large crowd gawking at something on the floor. As we passed by (and gawked), we saw a woman huddled in the fetal position against the wall. There was a pool of bile next to her, which sadly I can recognize from a distance (a skill I've acquired from my bouts of illness here, and drunken binges in the early-mid 90s -- and once last month).
As we got closer, I sensed something didn't seem right. There were two security guards squatting next to her, but nothing appeared to be happening. Fred and I moved closer. I suspected that the woman didn't speak French given the terrified look on her face and the fact that she had thrown up (i.e., was poisoned). Fred asked if she spoke English, to which she said "yes". She was a nice Canadian woman who was traveling for business. She attributed her vomiting to an allergic reaction to a mushroom sauce that she had eaten the night before. She was leaving the next day so I didn't see the point in upsetting her by telling her the truth. Red Alert.