I felt most comfortable in the museums, simply because that is where I feel most comfortable anywhere. The first night we went to the Orsay. I was surprised when I tried to pay that the woman kept pointing to me say, 'No, No.' O, le handicap. It seems 'le handicap' and their helpers don't pay to get into museums, and I didn't. Any of them. For wrong or right, I took full advantage of this and didn't pay to get into much. It seems le handicap (and pregnant women) strangely also go to the front of the line in the grocery store. What kind of country would think of such practical practices? How about France? When I noted to a drunk guy in line buying beer that this would never happen in America, he noted, 'America sucks.' In New York, of course, it's every person for themselves and people will push you out of the way!
I needed to do a little more research, so I asked my friend Tracey, who lives in Paris, if she had had much experience with 'le handicap' in the grocery store. She said that she did. Once she was asked to move behind a mother with an son with a disability. To me, it's mere practicality. How long should a child with a disability have to wait in line? How long should their mother? And who wants to wait behind any child at all? The other strange thing was that no one stared at me! I couldn't get over it. In Czech-Republic, the stare quotient was 100%. In New York, everywhere I go, people stare at me about 50%. In Berkley, it's a little less. Actually, everyone in Berkley is handicapped or weird. In Paris, I think two people stared at me the entire trip.
The 'free' museums are still a bit of a mystery, though. I also noticed that the Louvre lets in people who are unemployed for free. The conclusion I came to is that art is so important, all should have access to it. This also might account for the well-behaved 3 year olds sitting and drawing.
Tomorrow, how architecture can make you believe in God.