What you learn about Paris in a bathroom

I never imagined that my first workday in Paris would involve hyperventilating next to a toilet in a very small bathroom.

But that’s exactly what my first workday in Paris involved.

Save your pity. I wasn’t there to gather my thoughts or to turn on the faucet so it could drown out my sobs. I was genuinely in that bathroom to pee. I drank a lot of water that day.

The hyperventilating was a result of the lock breaking.

Okay. Now you can pity me. Feel free to also picture how horrified I was, turning some sad excuse for a knob as much as I could to release the door. It didn’t budge. I immediately tried to figure out how much I would have to pay for the door they were going to have to break down; I started wondering if they would think this was some American thing, getting stuck in bathrooms. I started to apologize to America for making it look bad. I tried again. No luck. Anxiety commenced.

Paris has been like this: a series of mishaps. It’s been microwaved sandwiches and so much cheese; thin dorm room walls and an extremely sexually active neighbor. It’s been constant misunderstanding and more cheese. It’s been a lot of work.

You’ll be happy to know that the bathroom had a window. It was small and just low enough so I could see through it while I was sweating through my trying-to-impress-French-people clothes. It was a window I seriously considered as an exit at one point, but 3 stories up eventually reasoned with that idea. It was a window with some cracked glass and low resolution, but it was also a window that looked out onto the street below. It was an amazing view for a bathroom.

This is also Paris: beautiful. It stands there patiently, looking good, smiling while you try to figure out your life; laughing as you hyperventilate next to a toilet in a very small bathroom.

It’s a city that is easily forgiven.