Grand Fleur de Lave

I needed a new loofah. The one I had was old and falling apart. Whenever I wanted to take a shower, I realized that I hated my stupid, old, smelly, loofah. Time for a change. Of course, this was not as easy as it should’ve been.

* * *

My brain wasn’t engineered to remember mundane things. The fact that I needed a new loofah only lasted in my mind for about 10 seconds and then the thought was gone, as if it never happened. Maybe I wrote it down once? It didn’t matter. Apparently my brain decided it was ok to put off for a few days, especially since I bathe about every three days. But I couldn’t keep procrastinate forever. I had to find a new loofah.

I started looking…everywhere. I asked Martine and she wasn’t sure what I was referring to. She told me to go to Tati, this store that sells practically everything for practically nothing. Buying clothes there is the equivalent of theft. After sifting through all the cheaper-than-a-sweathop-laborer-working-for-Walmart items, I realized there was no loofah at Tati. Fail.

My friend Victoria decided to tag along with me since she knows that life with me is just more interesting. We went to a Monoprix, which is almost like a Target, but with cheaper food. There, I found a loofah! But it was 5 euros. No way I’m spending that much money on a balled-up piece of cloth. She told me that a Carrefour was a good place to find cheap toiletries and food. In fact, it’s a huge grocery store with a lot of cheap alternatives and it has everything. This was good intel, except that Victoria is not the most sane person I know. The only Carrefour she knew of was outside of Paris in St. Denis. I was willing to bet my life that there was at least five closer than that one, but I didn’t know where they were. And it’s fun to humor her.

So we went on this “little” trip. All the ISA people talk about how the suburbs are “scary” and “dangerous” because that’s what they’ve been lead to believe and it’s easy for them to do so. No, the suburbs are not the best place to be if you don’t know your surroundings, but it’s not like you’re in a war zone. Needless to say, I wasn’t scared. This Carrefour was far though. We got some fuzzy directions and we had to walk by the freeway and a few miles more to find this sacred place in order to discover that it was nothing more than a cheap super market… that didn’t sell loofahs.

On the way back, we stopped at a pharmacy. In france, the pharmacies are nothing like CVS or RiteAid. They only sell body, health and medicine products, not soda and salsa. I asked for a loofah. Of couse, the word “loofah” doesn’t exist in the French language, so the conversation was strange. The lady said she had something and went in the back. When she said that, Victoria laughed. I asked her what was so funny, and she told me the lady said something about a rectum. And right on cue, the lady brings out a rectum pump or some pump-device to “use.” I politely tell her, while failing to suppress laughter, that this is not what I was looking for. I tried to explain to here again, and we had a “eureka” moment: I was looking for a “fleur de lavé.” It was time to stop using the word “loofah.”

Victoria and I went to find a Carrefour in the city and we found one at a huge shopping mall at Place de Clichy. There, I found the holy grail of loofahs… er, fleurs de lavées. There were pink ones, blue ones, red ones and green ones (there were orange ones too, mom). The best thing about these particular fleurs de lavées; they were only 1.50 Euro each. Wonderful. Vivre le France!!!!


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