Make us your homepage

 

Megan - Los Angeles, CA l Read Megan's First Entry

Today, Monica Seles became my enemy.

She has thwarted the two times in my life I tried to learn about dirt. The first was in seventh grade, when I took Mrs. Schmidt's Earth Science exam the day after Seles' French Open victory. I cheered her on instead of studying, and although I was happy that she won, I never did learn the definition of an igneous intrusion.

Fast forward to Paris in 2007, where I am still determined to learn more about the science of the earth. I'm in France to watch tennis, but I also want to know more about the famed terre battue. Where does it come from? What's it made of? (Am I making you proud, Mrs. Schmidt?)

Yesterday, after my fourth baguette avec du beurre (seriously, how are the French so thin?), I set out to find the office of the Groundskeeper. The first people I tried my French skills on turned out to be Roland Garros veterans from Minnesota. They helped me navigate the grounds before dashing off to watch Nadal on Philippe Chatrier. Yes, I passed up a chance to watch the master himself in order to learn about the pile of dirt he masters. Head groundskeeper Gaston Cloup wasn't surprised that someone wanted to know more about his red clay. After all, he said, "It's the star of the show." He asked me to return today at 9 a.m., and I walked out of there feeling like I had just talked to Julia Roberts' agent.

This morning, I had just enough time to grab a couple of croissants before the interview. As I joined the long line at the commissary, a woman up ahead took the last two croissants. Great. I grabbed a baguette. While the croissant-thief was paying, her wallet tumbled off the edge of the counter. Euros scattered in all directions. This clumsy woman was holding up the entire line, and everyone stopped to help her. They even seemed in awe of her. I was now officially running late. Then I took a closer look: her face was a little older, but still familiar.

"Not again, Monica Seles," I blurted out. I looked at my watch, dropped the baguette and headed for the nearest exit. Immediately I had to wade through a sea of people queuing up outside Court Suzanne Lenglen. (And yeah, I called Monica Seles a clumsy croissant thief.)

When I arrived at Monsieur Cloup's office, frazzled and sweaty, his rail-thin assistant was devouring a chocolate croissant and cheerfully told me I had juste missed him and that he was no longer available - for the rest of the tournament. I was crushed. The dirt man refused to see me. Is this how Julia's people treat Barbara Walters if she's a few minutes late? As I walked away, my stomach growled uncontrollably.

So I missed my chance to touch the hallowed red clay and I'm probably the only person who holds a geologically-based grudge against Monica Seles, but I did learn something today: French women really don't get fat.