Thursday, May 27, 2010

The First Americans We Encountered on the Way Home

Dear American Family in Room 206 at the Paris Charles DeGaulle Best Western,

Hey there, it's us over here next door in Room 208. Yeah, we were sleeping, actually, but you know, as they say in France, ce n'est pas grave.

First, I just want to say how sorry I am for you guys that you got in so late. Getting to your hotel at 2 in the morning must have been a huge bummer, as the two of you parents pointed out to one another. Several times.

Since you so nicely raised your voices so that we could hear the lengthy conversation you had following your arrival, I'm just going to weigh in on a few things.

For instance, I tend to agree with Mom, that it really wasn't her fault that you got there so late. But Dad was right when he said thirty-eight times that a continental breakfast doesn't usually include scrambled eggs. So you see, no need to argue -- particularly at 2 in the morning. Sometimes she's right, and sometimes he is. Just put in your order, trust the breakfast gods, tuck yourselves in, and call it a night.

Because you know, actually the rest of us were sleeping. I mean, until you got there.

And just because I could hear you so well, I thought I might offer a tiny bit of parenting feedback. When you stick two kids in the bath at that hour, sometimes it's a good idea to sort of hang out in there with them and help them calm down. You know, sing a sweet little (quiet) song or something, keep things moving along. If you stay in the hotel room and argue about the scrambled eggs and how you're going to get to "check your *&^%$* e-mail, goddamnit, Roger" the kids do tend to get a little out of control.

Also, you might not have noticed yourself doing this (you know, we've all been there) but you told the kids "Five minutes left in the bath, I mean it" no less than four times, at about eight-minute intervals. So next time you could just say, " 32 minutes left in the bath, I mean it!" And then mean it.

And if you already have an opinion on whether they should wear their jammies or their clothing to bed, it's best not to ask them which they would rather wear.

You know, eventually I started to think that it would have been more fun if we had opened the balsa wood door between our rooms and decided to have a huge American Battle of the Grumpy Families from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. Not to brag, but we would totally have kicked your butts, as we are the original Bickersons. We're kind of like the F15 figher plane in this area - we've never been beaten in open battle with another family. As a matter of fact, we only shoot each other down.

But you know, I'm sure you wanted your privacy. You didn't want some other family all up in your business, bickering. So we just lay in our beds quietly. And seethed at you.

So finally I also wanted to say how sorry I am that you had to get up again at 6:30 to catch your flight. Huge bummer right there. It did seem a little hard for you to get those little kiddos out of the p.j.'s they so badly wanted to wear. (Just speaking as a mom with a little more experience: sometimes when we stay someplace and have to get up super-early in the morning, I just pretend I didn't bring the jammies with me at all.)

It must have been a pretty big disappointment when those scrambled eggs didn't come (as you told Roger) but I really don't think it's his fault either. You know, the French and all. At least you got your morning coffee, even if you still couldn't work the *&^&^%! email.

And just so you know, I also totally heard him say you didn't have to leave until 7:30, so he probably shouldn't have been rushing you out at 7:15.

But like I said, we've all been there.

So, anyway, safe travels. We'll see you back in the U.S. But let us know when you're traveling next, so we can be sure to book the room a few more doors down.

Thanks so much for reminding us why we're so excited to get back home.

Best Wishes,

The sleepy family in Room 208


  1. Home. Where you don't have to listen to strangers arguing through your bedroom walls. (Notice I only said "strangers." Can't guarantee you won't hear arguing, just that the arguees won't be unknown to you.) Happy travels!

  2. So kind of Roger & family to give you a head start on the home-culture loathing you'll experience upon return from an extended stay abroad!

  3. Laughing out loud.
    They do sound like charming people.

  4. Ha. ha. ha. It would have been funny if it didn't make me so damn tired thinking about it. Save travels!

  5. Maybe you can sleep on the plane?? Oh, wait, I'm sure there will be grumpy, loud Americans there, too. Ack, they're everywhere! =>

  6. I would pay money to hear someone say "Bathtime is over in 32 minutes."

    Over from Blog Brew Review - glad to meet you.

  7. Oh, absolutely dead on, Dr. Brazleton.


  8. Perfect.... so sorry you had such obnoxious neighbors, but your response, even if just to the blogosphere and not to them directly, was perfect!