French people stare at you, on the street, in stores, in the metro. It's hard to get used to, that unabashedly curious gaze.
Well, they stare even more when you send a bottle of wine careening to the sidewalk. It's one of those things that might happen when you're walking at a fast clip along the boulevard Daumesnil, where the rose brick Aqueduct has been turned into a series of high-end galleries and cafés, and where every teenager goes rollerblading, every little kid brings his scooter, and you don't slow down but since it's warmer out than usual for October, you try to roll up your sleeves.
Only you have a thin plastic bag in your left hand, which contains a bottle of wine you just could not keep yourself from purchasing, though you were only out walking to take the air and not to spend more money on wine.
You have a plastic bag in your hand, and when, walking so fast and slaloming around everyone coming at you, you try to roll up your sleeve, the plastic bag goes flying.
Oh, shit... Will my bottle of Volnay Clos des Ducs 2001 be forever smashed? Will I stoop and pick up the bag and feel it heavy and liquid and dark in the bottom?
It seemed like everyone stopped. A kid let go of his mother's hand, stopped walking, and stared.
As for the bottle, it was - as the French say - miraculée. I continued walking. People kept staring, but they probably would have anyway.