the 4th of july

I'm staying in Paris for the weekend, before flying to Togo on Monday night. The small hotel I'm staying at here only has wifi in the lobby. I was sitting there this afternoon writing on my laptop when the hotel clerk, a 60-something-year-old man who's shorter and thinner than me, started asking me questions about Independence Day. He asked what Americans do to celebrate, and I told him that we typically have cookouts and fireworks.


"And for dessert?" he asked.

"Well, it's usually ice cream or watermelon or cake," I said.

"Okay," he said in French. "I get off work in twenty minutes. I will take you to get ice cream so you don't have to celebrate your independence alone."

And he did.