I refilled our cups and asked Bruno if there was any food a Parisian wouldn’t pair with champagne.
Looking back, I think, Oh, the sum of small acts …
“Cheeseburger?” I said.
Bruno turned away from his computer. “Cheeseburger, why do you always talk about cheeseburger? But it’s not bad, sure.”
“How about sushi?”
“Sushi, beer is better,” Bruno said, “but sure, champagne.”
“That works?” I said. Ça marche?
“That works,” Bruno said. Ça marche.
Ça marche was my phrase of the month.
“What about cheese?” I said. “A platter of cheeses?”
Bruno said, “Now this is tricky.” He explained that it depended on the cheeses served and the type of champagne. Perhaps a rosé? He’d have to think about it. Next I asked him what was required for a proper French Christmas dinner.
“Shellfish,” Bruno said. “Parisians eat shellfish.”
“This is also not bad with champagne,” he added.
Several times in those eighteen months, over coffee, at lunch, Bruno explained to me that native Parisians were disappointed by default. “We say pas mal before we say très bien. Look where we live. If you have Paris, what lives up to it? The strikes—you know, the fathers went on strike, so the sons follow. But it’s theater now. Everything changes.”
From Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin