301 Links in a Story — Chapter 5 Lizzie, Americans, and French Bread

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[For those of you just tuning in, this is based on the 301 Lists that Darren Rowse’s List Group Writing Project brought together. You’ll find Chapter 1 here –> A List Becomes 301 Links in Story — Chapter 1 ]

Adventures Don’t Happen Sitting

Lizzie finished her hot chocolate and talked a moment to her server. Apparently the owner was a Jerk. Lizzie wanted to help the poor girl so she gave her Ten Things You Need to Know Before you Hire an Attorney and Starting Your Own Business? Keep these things in Mind!

“Everyone’s so nice and speaking English,” Lizzie thought. Then she scanned the lists on the table. On her left she saw Pan Pacs 2006 – What to Watch For, European Honeymoon List Fun, 20 Ways to Improve Your Training for Rowers (and other Athletes), Ingredients in Chinese Five Spice, and Five Things to Do in Stockholm When it Rains. On her right was Things I learned in Honduras, 20 Drought Tolerant Australian Native Plants, A few handy EPL team facts, and 5 things to do when in Cebu.

Right-brained, creative Lizzie did the math. “Oh my,” she thought, “Only 7% of Americans have passports. “We really need to stop our national journey to be in front of the TV,” our fictional deep thinker mused as she reviewed Five Searches That Have Brought People to Couch Culture. “Just that I’m in France and not in a noisy tourist group has probably led them to decide that I’m Australian or Canadian. I think number 11 of 10 Easy Ways To Save Money In Restaurants is to leave as soon as you’re done.”

And that’s exactly what she did.

Along Came Rita . . . and Doris

In the fresh air and out on the sidewalk, Lizzie headed for Notre Dame Cathedral.

Unfortunately, she ended up in a that stereotypical, noisy group of American tourists and couldn’t quite seem to lose a lady named Rita. Rita was an incredibly thin, well-meaning real-estate seller — the kind that makes most realtors cringe or claim to be lawyers, ex-cons, or major felons . . . Worse than Rita was her friend, Doris, a burly pitbull sort of woman who was an American TV fiend.

“Lizzie, Lizzie,” Doris bellowed, as they walked along the Seine. “I have my hubbin’ tapin’ The 11 New Fall Shows I can’t Wait to See. Now, keep up girl, and I’ll tell ya’ 5 Benjamin Bratt Movies Worth Your Time; and 9.4 “Law & Order” episodes, too. Ya’ know, you’re dyin’ fer me to tell ya’.”

“Hey, Doris, shush now. We’re in Paris,” Rita told her. “Lizzie doesn’t watch TV. Do ya’, baby?” Look at them lists in her backpack. She wants to know about things like the Top 10 Most Expensive States to Close a Home Purchase in, Apprehending Realtor 2.0: Seven essential skills of the 21st century real estate agent, and how to Jumpstart your Real Estate blog (or any other blog for that matter), and the Top 10 Women Real Estate Bloggers.

“No, she dooooon’t,” hollered Doris. “She wants to know 7 Reasons I Can’t Wait for the 2006 Fall TV Season to Start.”

Soon all of the tourists were talking at Lizzie in very, very, very [32 verys] LOUD voices.

“What about 10 Fantastic Faith Festivals?” said a young man who looked to be from the Pacific Northwest.

A red-haired girl with glasses said, “The issue is that The Top 10 Crowdsourcing Companies are killing the sperm whales, and causing a drop in the spaghetti crop in a struggling country called Farina, which has now begun to hit the global economy in a less than positive trending that could signal an international tendency toward overspending on The Top 10 coolest Mac freeware programs you’ve never heard of.”

“That sounds serious,” was all that Lizzie could think to remark.

“She doesn’t know what she’s saying,” said a boy who looked to be 10 or 21. He was wearing the latest footwear, but you could hardly tell from the way his pants fell down over them. You could however read the over-large label on his underwear clearly. It said, “You Know You’re Addicted to Games When….” Sexiest SEO and Marketing Websites” and under that were the words ads by Google.

“How do I click a kid’s underwear?” Lizzie didn’t want to contemplate that question. There’d been too much talk of click fraud already.

Lizzie longed to walk over, under, around or through them, but there’s no way to extract oneself from a crowd of tourists who surround you on the right bank in Paris. Besides, Lizzie’s world famous for being polite, gracious, and nice when people talk to her — even when she is clueless about what they’re saying or why they happen to be saying it.

A man who looked to be 200 years old then took her hand and said, “Please care about Health and Disease Prevention: 10 Important Phytochemicals could make the difference.” Then he just stopped talking and stared in the distance, leaving Lizzie to wonder what difference in what?

A guy with greasy slicked-back hair, who said he was in the mile-high club wanted to tell her 5 and a half reasons why Internet trolls are awesome, 10 ways to waste time on the internet, and 7 Things to do at the office under the Radar, but our Lady Lizzie demurred.

“Hey, baby,” the sleazy guy said. “I can show you 10 Ways to Boost Your Productivity and 5 Tools that get you way more productive.”

Lizzie stopped and stared him down. “I don’t need help with with my productivity or my reproductivity, which is what you’re really talkng about.”

Lizzie finally got away by ducking into a small restaurant, There a young man pointed her to a glass of wine, brie with almonds,and fresh French bread. She thought he was a server, but he was a customer.

Lizzie knew that as soon as he said, “Howdy darlin’ “. She sat anyway.

French bread is worth it. Lizzie loves French bread.

Hal and the French Bread

The man with the French bread was Hal. He hailed from Kerrville, Texas, home of one restaurant, one truckstop, and one famous hotel.

Lizzie felt like an “American magnet.” If only 7% of Americans had passports, how were they all finding our Lizzie friend in Paris?

As sweet Lizzie started with her brie and French bread, Hal started rattling like an old Schwin bicycle. As with every other American Lizzie had met on this trip, he was an extrovert ready to share too much information on stuff she didn’t really need to know at that very moment in Paris.

His conversation was like one continuously changing infomercial.

“Do you like sports?”

“I’ve given up talking sports while I’m in Paris,” Lizzie said.

“Okay, then, I’ll do your share for you.” the big-shouldered American with hands that looked like bananas offered.

Lizzie saw sports figures on French bread.

“First, here’s a rundown on The Best and Worst of the Red Wings and the Top ten takeaways from the Bruce Arena interview. It’s good you know to give sports talk a rest. I had to learn the Nine Signs You Think About the San Diego Padres Too Much.. . . . Top 20 Sports Movies of All Time? . . . Want to know 11 Teams I’d Love to See on the Amazing Race? They’re not really teams and they’re people you’ve probably never heard of. ”

Lizzie wondered how he could talk so fast and never stop to breathe. “Hal just keeps going,” she thought. Hal sounds strangely as if all of the words I’ve ever deleted got together in his head, arranged themselves somehow, and now are coming out of his mouth.”

“You a crafter? I have to ask you. Why Craft? Do you know 10 Signs You Might have Crafter’s ADD? Do you know the Top 7 Reasons To Knit? Have you heard The Truth About Lampwork?”

Lizzie wondered “Was Hal never allowed to ask questions as a child? She considered whether analysis would help him. Would it help if she gave him C.P.R. for a Balanced Life?

“I can tell you 12 Great Reasons to Become A Bird Watcher and 8 Reasons Not to Start Birding that are reverse psychology.”

Lizzie sipped wine so she didn’t have to answer. She knew that publishing would haunt her one day. She just never figured it would be in Paris.

“Here are a few more things that I know . . . You like the Internet and computers?

The Ultimate Mac List for (Free) Apps… and more”

“My Mac is fine, thank you,” Lizzie answered.

“Top 10 Firefox Super Extensions”

“Thank you, my Firefox is healthy too.”

How about 11 Linux distro’s (plus one) or 5 Sites to Promote Your Open Source Design?

“I’m sorry I can’t even spell Open Source, and I design with crayons.”

“Tech Tools/Tips for the College Bound?”

“I graduated, where were you then?”

“5 Clues that Your Home Office Has Too Much Clutter”

“My home office is glass and silver; everything is in its place.”

Lizzie heard “The Yellow Rose of Texas” playing VERY LOUDLY.“5 Reasons that you Need a New Ringtone”

“I’m certain, if I did, it wouldn’t be that one.

“Wait, wait. I’ve got one. Do you know 10 minus 3 steps on how to become an Oracle ERP Consultant?”

“Could you order more wine, please? I think this conversation needs it.” Our dear heroine requested politely.

“10 Reasons why Computers and the Internet are Out to Get us.”

“I’ll drink the wine. You’ve had enough.”

“Will you let me try one more?”

“You’re scaring me now, Hal,” Lizzie said as gently as she might. Hal’s sad eyes convinced her to let him try. “Alright then, go on.”

This one is you, I know it! Cumbaya Management Essentials

“Hal, I’ll take a raincheck on that wine. I’ve got to go now. Thanks so much for the education.”

Lizzie walked out of the restaurant. In the background she heard Hal calling, “Got a Dog? Here Are 5 Tips on Saving $$$ & Being a Responsible Owner.”

Lizzie knew the 16 Ways to spot a Bad Restaurant, — Hal hadn’t made the list of 16.

Lizzie needed music and romance.

But that’s what happens in ————————-Chapter 6

–ME “Liz” Strauss

Related Articles

A List Becomes 301 Links in Story — Chapter 1
301 Links in Story — Chapter 2 Lizzie Meets Fred
301 Links in a Story — Chapter 3 Lizzie Reaches the Paris Hilton
301 Links in a Story — Chapter 4 Lizzie, Jean, and Etch-a-Sketch


  1. says

    This couldn’t be a more clever idea and I’m honored that my lawyer list headed off this chapter.


    Nick from Malpractice Journal

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