Bowler Hats and Walking Canes

We all need an angel or two.  My guess is that they sometimes nudge us in the right direction; other times, they throw up their hands, or wings as the case may be, and simply step in.

I met two of mine when my friend Ann and I arrived in Paris.  Over my morning coffee and her morning tea morning, we looked at each other and agreed we both needed some time alone.  It comes with living with yourself for too many years.

We headed off in different adventures.  I wanted to go antiquing.  It didn’t matter that it was August and most shops closed with everyone on holiday.  I would find what I could find.

I strolled down past the Notre Dame, following the Seine and a guidebook and walked miles to find a small, tucked away little antique area.  I found the area right where it should have been and it was a delightful as I’d hoped, even with the majority of shops closed for the month.  Narrow streets meandered through the antique district and small shops with window boxes overflowing with vibrant pink geraniums decorated the walkways.  Most of the window displays had been emptied for the August vacation, but a few remained, showcasing the shop’s wares.  I walked around, enjoyed the scenery, wandered in and out of a shop or two that were open and then headed back to meet Ann.

About halfway back to the hotel, I realized I was the only pedestrian on the street.  But, it was Paris, a lovely day, and any intuitive thoughts that started to darken my adventure were pushed aside. That worked a while until I realized that across the street was a young man, looking all the bit a petty thief.  He tried to engage me in conversation.  I ignored him.

That didn’t work, as the young man became more animated and more agitated. Actually, he was hassling me although I pretended not to understand which was quite easy, because I really didn’t understand him despite his animated gestures. My French had not improved during the trip. He wanted something, probably money, but because I did not speak French, I was at a loss to reply.  His tone, however, made it obvious that this was not a friendly conversation. As there weren’t many options, I continued to walk back towards the center of Paris.

I knew a lot about not playing the victim role, so I walked with conviction, trying to look like I was not going to put up with any nonsense even though by now my feet were killing me.  It didn’t work, and the young man started across the street towards me.

Then, out of thBowler hate blue, two older very distinguished, very tall and very gay British men, dressed in three piece dark suits complete with bowler hats and walking canes, appeared out of nowhere.  The flamboyant duo swooped in, each taking one of my arms and loudly announcing to me and anyone else in the immediate vicinity, 

Darling, where have you been?  We have been searching all over for you. It’s far past time for tea. Shall we go?

The young man immediately disappeared into a side street.

And, with that, my two angels escorted me back to civilization, chatting the entire time and even insisting that we stop for afternoon tea, which after the long, long walk was even more appreciated.