Hulking, rounded hay bales drift in and out of sight in the mist as the bus rolls east through the fields. When we stop to drop off some guffawing high schoolers just outside of Dompaire (population 1,050), the countryside past the bridge looks more like a Brontë-esque moor than French farmland.
The problem is that it’s 5:30 at night, and the fog has been sitting on the Vosges all. day. long. Scratch that: all week long, with only 5 hours of respite last Friday. I predicted icy cold, rain and snow out here in the Northeast, but was not expecting to be walking in clouds all November. It’s like kryptonite for would-be brave people: between watching an entire season of The Wire and drinking about 2 gallons of coffee in my pajamas, I’ve easily had the most pathetic week of two months in France.
How should a struggling American break through the actual haze?
1) Download as many dance and techno albums from the internet as possible. Go dance to them with other people. Or run, or at least walk jauntily. Heels help.
2) Imagine dementors are creating the fog, and don’t let ’em get ya down.
3) If you must stay inside, learn some things. I can count to 100 in German!
4) Dismantle Facebook. (I obviously will never manage this).
5) Spend a minimum of 1.5 hours per week examining the local market, then cook yourself crazy.