Fête du Monde 20/04/2010Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris.
Tags: cosmopolitan, france, house parties, paris, socializing
In celebration of Spring’s imminent arrival, as well as a recently departed birthday, Vingt hosted what was billed as an intimate get-together. Robin has provided photographs in the past and received an invitation, so I collected him from his new job.
That was the plan. The girl behind reception insisted that I was mistaken, no Robin worked here. The two gallery flunkies sitting behind desks looked up in mild interest as I noticed an extreme lack of Robin. Milled about in front of the gallery until this became unnerving to passerby, then I walked around the block until it began raining.
I was let into Vingt HQ by a gentleman dressed much more appropriately than me. Mild chaos and unpreparedness greeted my extraordinarily early arrival. Called Robin who was standing in front of the gallery wondering where the hell I was, then shuffled off back into the rain to meet him. We can blame my horrible accent, or we can blame the fact that Robin had been working for all of a day. He blamed me.
Concerned about being terribly early we spent as long as possible in line at a local supermarket rattling change with intentions of buying beer. Still concerned about being terribly early we stood in front of the apartment rattling beer and watching someone stare intently at the keypad or checking his cell phone. He asked us nothing, we told him nothing, people came and went through the door. He moved into the lobby where we left him standing and staring.
Still early we lurked around introducing ourselves to the well dressed gentleman and a displaced Londoner who was visiting. The guy who had been pacing around out front eventually found his way inside and introduced himself in an incredibly thick Ukrainian accent. Another man arrived, this time with a thick Maghreb accent. Another man, a German who had lived in American and Paris for 30 years, began to shuffle around sipping wine, amused by everything said or done. A gaggle of English girls showed, Vingt’s Asian nanny disappeared, and Robin left to meet people for Chinese.
Since I was relatively sure of their names hours were spent with the well dressed gentleman, Londoner and former German, clinging to the balcony while avoiding the collection of people clustered around social centers like the buffet. A Polish girl associated with Vingt introduced herself, realized that I had perhaps been milling about for too many hours drinking, and pawned me off on a London girl associated with Vingt. She and her boyfriend from the south of France found themselves trapped by my ceaseless stream of consciousness.
Just as numbers were dwindling Robin snuck in and whispered that he had returned with a large collection of people who were hiding in the hallway. Since Vingt was nowhere to be found and there was still a cache of wine in the kitchen I took charge of the situation. The number of people I actually knew rose incrementally, including Alice who was in town for the weekend from Lyon. I collected bottles of wine, found slightly used plastic cups, and discovered that I should make use of this buffet before all of the food disappeared.
Ana argued with some Arab guys about what should be played on the stereo, a guy from Mexico City flirted with Damien, three Middle Easterners asked me where a good all-night club was and the Londoner confided in me that he was drunk. Vingt reappeared and started dancing, an American with a ponytail was taking everyone’s pictures and both the Mexican and the former German seemed prepared to follow Damien out the door as the Parisians split.
I prepared to hike home in the warm Spring drizzle until Robin and Ana pointed out it was barely one and I had plenty of time before the métro stopped running.