when i lived in france, one of my oddest experiences was at one of my language schools. i had changed schools to save money...and i did. but i also had to walk farther, passing questionable people and even more questionable situtations, to a dodgy and strange neighborhood which lacked cafes and boulangeries. bizarre. so when we had a break, we went down the hall...to the vending machine for...hot drinks.
"un espresso, s'il vous plait"
no, just press the small button..the paper cup drops...hell if i know what drips into it... and voila...you have your coffee break. hot chocolate, cafe au lait, un demi. at your service.
i couldn't understand it and when i saw my native professor drink one; it blew my mind. she fit the normal parisienne mold. stylish hair and clothes, pretty face, sexy french accent. petite, or as my sister noted, "how do all of her organs fit inside of her body?" to see her drinking espresso from a paper cup was, in the least, disappointing.
maybe they are hidden all over france, surely equivalent to something we have here in america...but what?
my first thought is of "meal" vending machines...where one could buy a cold sandwich, or a frozen breakfast sandwich to heat in the microwave. but we are so un-gourmand here that this is not a strong comparison. if you have any ideas, let me know.
it seems a bit sacrilegous to have those espresso machines in france. but maybe they are in corners of breakrooms in small to mid-sized companies dotted all over the country. je ne sais pas.
if i write a film about paris, i'll be sure to include a scene at the water cooler. just so people know it's not always la vie en rose.