A Detroiter in Paris Transcript

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So, good evening.

This is supposed to be about wanderlust, and I don't really go anywhere. But I went somewhere once, so I figured I'd tell the story. So, my wife happens to be the love of my life and the bane of my existence, all wrapped up in one person. And we have been together for seven years, or 70 years, depending upon what I'm drinking.

And she was in a class, and the class professor said, "Hey, I need you to write out an itinerary for a trip. So, price it out. Ticket prices. Airline. Everything. Price it all out, and then bring it to class and we'll discuss it.”

Now, most people who do this end up going on the trip. So, I'm downstairs watching Andy Griffith, paying no attention to what's going on. I don't even know what her degree is in. So, I hear this bounding down the stairs and she's like, "Guess what!”

I'm like, "What?" She's like, "We can go to Paris for under three grand for, like, 10 days!" And I can hear the fucking moths, like, fluttering in my purse. Like, I got a

nickel. So I'm like, “Yay! I'm glad we know that now. That's a piece of information we can file away for later, because we don't own anything.”

So, she looks all depressed and I'm thinking well, what would any woman- slash-man do when his wife is depressed? You lie. So I said, "Well, I tell you what, honey. The next time we get a big old chunk of money, we're gonna go to Paris. We're going to fucking do it. So, put your paper up and get your hopes up, because you know, money just falls out of the sky, that's normal. So, just wait it out."

So, now, this is a Sunday night, okay? Monday morning, I shit you not, it's 10 o'clock in the morning and my phone rings. First of all, I live in Detroit. So, let's establish that the fact that my mail was delivered before midnight is a miracle, okay? So, my wife says to me, "Are you sitting down?"

And I'm thinking, somebody died. Hopefully it's our dog. I hate that damn dog. Moving on, moving on, moving on. So, I'm preparing myself, like, get the fake tears going. And she's like, "You got a check from the government."

And I'm like, "Which government?" 

She's like, "Our government." 

I'm like, "I owe them more money than God. So, somebody fell asleep and hit the wrong button, but whatever." 

She said, "The check that you got is the exact amount that I put on the paper that we need to go to Paris."

And I said, "Take the check to the bank. Put the money in. I promised you, I promised you. Buy the tickets."

So, she's trying to talk me through it, "Well, we have these bills and we owe people." 

I'm like, "Buy the ticket."

So she's talking. Now, I want to establish something. My wife is white. And I want to tell you that because that makes the conversation make sense, because I'm black. So the way black works is, “They gave you money, spend it, spend it! In any fucking minute, they're going to come back and tear that check up. I'm gonna spend that shit, and then we'll talk about how I'm gonna pay it back. But, get the tickets!”

So she's like, "No. You know, we owe DTE money.”

Okay, if you live in Detroit, you gonna owe DTE Energy 'til you're fucking dead. So, DTE is like a couch. That fucker is going to always be there. You don't have to worry about DTE. They will find your ass. It'll be fine. I said this before, like I had student loans. I was like, "If you give Osama bin Laden a Michigan Guaranteed Loan, we will find his ass." I've moved nine times and they found me. So, trust me, that letter is gonna find his ass. “You owe us some money, boo.” Moving on, moving on!

I finally get the check from her. I tear it out of her hand, 'cause she's like, "We could be paying bills."

I'm like, "Fuck bills!"

So, I go, I cash the check. So, here's the thing about going to foreign countries. I didn't realize that you need this thing, a passport. So, you can't actually just leave the United States. So, we have these tickets. Things I didn't do: I didn't tell my boss I wanted to go to Paris and I needed time off. I figured Paris was the excuse. So, she's like, "Well, we need you here."

And I'm like, "Uhhh...But, I have these tickets to Paris!"

So, we get the tickets. Then we get the passports. I'm shitting bricks til' the passports show up. And then we have to go on this trip. So we're in New York, and we went to visit a friend, and she walked us to death, and that's not the part that's interesting.

What's interesting is, as I mentioned before, I'm black. So, when I had to go through customs, I don't know what it is about being black and seeing people with guns, but there's a part of me that was like, "Did I bring weed?" Like, I don't even smoke weed. “Did I bring weed?”

You know, it’s like, “You don’t smoke weed!”

“I know, but I'm black and that just seems to fucking happen. So, is there spontaneous weed happening?”

So we get through and she just walks through with all her hair and her bags, and they're all like, "Oh." They look at her passport, and I swear to God the guy looked at me like, “Paris? For real?”

I was like, “I'm going- I'm WITH HER! I'm traveling with a white woman, what more do you want?” 

So, we get there, we get to Paris, and this is the jacked up part of the story. So I took Detroit to Paris by mistake. So, in Paris these guys will make you bracelets, right? So, they make these bracelets, and they tie it to your wrist, and they say it's 10 euros. I saw this on Rick Steves ’cause all I have is free T.V. So, I watch P.B.S. like a religion. Rick Steves is like, "They're gonna do this. Don't let ’em do it!"

So, I'm in Paris. I know like nine French words. Nine. One of them is for the toilet. One of them is for the check. Nine. And then I ask everybody, "Uh, parlez anglais?"

And they look at me like, "Yeah. We're shocked you're here, too." 

Moving on, moving on. 

So, this guy tries to put the bracelet on me and I'm like, "Non, non." And he's talking to me in English and French and I'm like, "Non, non, non." Now mind you- I go on, so I'm walking and the guy keeps going, the guy keeps going and I swear to you, Detroit is a sickness. It rolled out of my face before I could stop it. All of a sudden I turned and said, "DIDN'T I TELL YOU NO?! Didn't I, didn't I tell you no?! I've been here 10 fucking days, I been pleasant to every damn body. Get out my face! You tie that thing around my wrist, I'm gonna break your fucking neck! Oh, you can speak English now, can't you? You can speak English now, can't you!?"

Now the part that's funny is that I had to bring Detroit all the way over here. What cracks me up is, I look to my right and there's this whole group of people wearing U of M sweatshirts and they are laughing their asses off. Like, "Ahh, you got Detroit-ed! See, we told you, leave us alone.”

But this is the best part of the story. So, we come out of Paris. One day I'll come back to tell you the death march my wife took me on to look for her perfect perfume, but we'll move on. We come out of Paris, we fly into LaGuardia, and now I'm thinking, “Did I buy weed in Paris?” You know, I'm trying to figure out, you know, what did I do? And I get to the guy, and the guy in LaGuardia looks at my passport, and he looks at me. And he says, "Welcome home."

And at that point, it dawned on me that I was a U.S. citizen, because I had never left the country. No one had ever said, "Welcome home," to me because I'd never left home. So wanderlust took me to Paris, and wanderlust taught me where home was.

So, thank you.