From Le Louvre to Love

 Picture from    travel-junkies.com         

Picture from travel-junkies.com  

My mother traveled to Paris about 12 years ago.  When she returned, she gushed over the landmarks, food and culture she experienced during her visit.  She briefly mentioned Pasquale, a taxi driver who took a liking to her and my godmother.  He offered to drive them around the city for the duration of their trip, and that was that.  Or at least that's what she thought. 

Perhaps something got lost in translation between mother and her seemingly chivalrous chauffeur because two months later, we received an unexpected phone call from Pasquale.  He was at JFK asking for her address.  He had flown all the way to the United States to find her!  Unfortunately, we live about six hours away from NYC.  Many people believe that NYC is the only part of New York, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

In any event, the airport employees were extremely helpful, putting him on a plane which brought him to the appropriate destination.  Even back then, the hopeless romantic in me shined through.  All of those damn fairy tales and romantic comedies were damaging my brain cells.  My mother was a lot more balanced about the situation, though.  She wasn't interested in starting a relationship, but believed she was obligated to be hospitable - especially for someone who traveled across an ocean to surprise her.

At the time, our household consisted of my mother, brother, adult cousin and myself.  My uncle lived around the corner and visited daily while Pasquale stayed with us.  We had more than enough room to accommodate an extra guest, so that was what we decided to do.  Normal people might have been weary of a complete stranger staying with them.  We, on the other hand, were ready at a moment's notice to take him out if he got froggy (see what I did there).  I imagined a tall, dark, handsome gentleman to appear on our doorstep ready to whisk mother off of her feet.  What I got was a short, stout, not-so-attractive man who expected 24/7 service from the women of the house. 

For two weeks, he constantly made demands and expected that we would wait on him hand and foot.  Furthermore, he had no qualms about describing the differences between French and American women.  This came to a head when he pointed at my mother and aunt shouting, "Grande, grande".  Needless to say, he had worn out his welcome well before his departure.  The worst part?  Eventually we uncovered the real reason for his surprise visit.  Apparently, he was pretending to be French.  He was originally from Angola and facing deportation from France.  He wanted to woo my mother into helping him become a US citizen. 

Somehow I had forgotten about Pasquale and his shenanigans until my mother mentioned it to me the other day.  It helped to give me some perspective.  You see, there are times when I think that my geographic location is the reason why I have had such bad luck with dating.  While this might still be a factor, Pasquale was living proof that frogs exist EVERYWHERE.