Friday, 8 July 2011

The Sunday Cycle

A typical Sunday afternoon in our Franglais household goes a little like this:

Stage one: The gritted-teeth smile when he finally calls.

"Hi babe...where are you?" 

"Umm…… did you get my message?"

Stage two: The sigh. The weary tone then begins - in anticipation of the usual excuses that I receive at this point - i.e. about 15 minutes before we need to leave to make our reservation.

"No. What message babe?"

“Ummm... Have you checked your blackberry? I explained….”

Stage three: I begin mentally composing the 'I'm so sorry, we're running late' message to our friends.

There's a picture message waiting. A man is standing in first place on a podium. Grinning like a Cheshire cat. Wearing a bright orange jersey.


“Ha ha, yup!! AND I've got a huge bunch of flowers, just for you babe!!!”

I spent the next couple of minutes running round screaming my congratulations and bursting with pride. 

Then I noticed the clock.

Stage Four: The penny drops.

“This means you're going to be really late doesn't it??”

Stage Five: The squirming begins on the other end of the phone.

“Weeeeell.... The thing is they took aaaages to sort out the podium, and there's loooooads of traffic ........... but did I tell you they gave me flowers?”

“How late?”

“Half an hour. Honest. I promise.”

Stage Six: My voice goes up another octave whilst I resist the urge to yell.

“You know we’re supposed to be at the restaurant in half an hour, right?!?!"

“Yes, yes, I know, I know.  Don't worry, I'll be quick."

An hour later.....

Stage Seven: He runs in the door and takes the fastest shower in history whilst I'm screaming blue murder at him.
This is a typical Sunday.  I've checked what time he's due back from cycling.  We've made plans.  He is always late.  It always ends in an argument.

Although to be fair to him, the arguments don't usually involve him winning something ;-)

In an attempt to break the cycle, I tried to identify the contributing factors:

On my side:

1. I’m English and I like punctuality. 
OK, so , “I couldn’t find anything to wear” emergencies can be excused.

2. I’m one of the least patient people you’ll ever meet.

3. I like Brunch. On Sundays. 

He already seems to be at a considerable disadvantage.

But on his side:

1. He's a man.

2. He’s a man who hates wearing a watch. Unless it tells him how fast he’s going on his bike.

3. He's French. They have a psychological aversion to time-keeping.

4. He’s a cyclist.  Which means he spends a lot of time with other cyclists.  And if you put a group of cyclists together, they immediately forget there is a world outside of discussing last week's race/the great hill they found yesterday/how much their wheels cost/which shape pasta they like best/how much they hate Alberto Contador... etc. 

Who wouldn't miss the best brunch in Paris to discuss which brand of chamois cream causes less chaffing?

So, on second thoughts, this might be a pretty evenly matched fight.

As I’m a girl, I obviously started by trying to change his tardiness first, rather than deal with my own impatience (for those who might wonder why, I repeat: I’m a GIRL).

I tried reminding him to wear a watch, lying that reservations were earlier than I actually made them, adding at least an extra hour of 'buffer time' to his scheduled arrival before arranging a meeting time with friends and threatening to leave him behind the next time he’s late. (I realised early on that this last method would only back-fire on me.)

Evidently, I am not winning my battle. 

However, instead of doing the sensible thing and admitting defeat (again, I repeat: I'M A GIRL), I’m calling a temporary 'truce' until the Tour de France stage is over - beginning with the national championships this Sunday:

I'm not making any reservations with friends.

I'm taking a map as well as the satnav.

I won't make him wear a watch.

.... but I'm driving.

If anyone gets stressed at being late, it won't be me ;-)

P.s - The Frenchman is competing in a stage of the Tour de France on 17 July and raising money for leukaemia research, a cause very dear to his heart - so if you read this, please, please, please take a little bit of time to sponsor him at Every little helps.

It's the French equivalent of 'Just Giving' and is very easy to donate, even from the UK!

There's only 9 more days to go!!!

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