French Logic is not the same logic that flows through the viens of non-froggies. It is a, shall we say, “unique” perception of what is,what could be, and how you should get there.
The phrase”a period of adjustment”applies not only to marriage and that great new piece of software that almost works,but equally to your perceptions/expectations of how far away lands should treat you.
Lost in Translation
Example: You’re in Greece, and your rent-a-scooter breaks down. You manage to hobble back to the shop. It’s 40 degrees celsius, you’ve missed your lunch on that marvy terrace overlooking the Agean, and you’re….well,… not the world’s happiest camper. But not to worry, ever smiling and helpful Spiros (There are only two male names in Greece,”Spiros” and “Yanni”) chants the soothing words you’ve been longing to hear: “No problem. I fix it for next day.”
So, you come back “next day”, and guess what? (You’re ahead of me, are’nt you?) That’s right. The shop is closed. Because it’s Sunday! Nothing is open in Latin countries on Sunday except churches and bakeries. When Spiros said:”Next Day,” he meant logically, next business day. Ergo,the moral of this non-fable, is that there is “no problem”in foreign lands as long as you leave your expectations/reason/logic at home! And accept their version of same.
Nowhere is this challenge more,..er….”challenging” than in “La Belle France.” If you’ve ever known the exquisite pleasure of navigating the wonderfully circular nowhere-to-turn-around-got-to-make-the-whole-circuit-again-and-no-place-to-park labyrinth that is CDG, (Charles DeGaulle airport…also called”Roissey”- Hey, why not confuse the tourists?) you, dear reader, are “hip to the trip.” That’s right.There are no listings of individual airlines on the terminal menu boards.(or lack of menu boards,more accurately) Only “Aerogare One.” And,”Aerogare Two.”
In the South of France, roughly between the sea and the city or Arles,(tied with Nimes as the country’s bullfight capital) the landscape is flat, marshy, and in high summer, brutally hot. So why would you come? Well, there’s the Camargue, populated by wild horses. And, for a few weeks,tens of thousands of pink flamingos(le flamant rose) splash around. If you’re into salt, you can watch miles and miles of it catching some drying rays. So, there are some highlights. And, local government has thoughtfully provided many rest stops. That’s the good news. The bad news. No shade trees!
The Day the Music Died
Being, as you well know, a musical kinda guy, any concert poster gets more than a once over from me. Saw one the other day. Great design. Very colorful and appealing. Telling me there was a jazz concert in a medium sized nearby city(not a town or a village, mind you)on a certain weekend. It also shared the riveting credits of all the local biz and government cultural orgs.that were making this possible. What it neglected to include was the tiny detail of where in this mid sized metropolis “jazz-o-rama”would go down.How much it would cost, or where I could get tickets. Ok, there was a(not toll free)’phone number. And I do like music more than the average bear. But without even a hint of where and how much,why would I care enough to invest my time and dime to call?”
This “info A.D.D.” is also glaringly apparent on small to medium sized French web sites.(The big dogs,in any country,cover all the bases.)They regale you with all their products and services. Their prices. Their many payment options. Their mission to give each customer individual attention. And should you want to contact them, to experience some of that individual attention, simply call the non-free telephone number! Sad, but true, dear reader.They have an internet business, and no contact email! Would “not clear on the concept” be the appropriate phrase?
It’s a Car, Jim – but not as we know it
But, for me, the winner in the “Latin Logic Sweepstakes”, is a classic “French-ism” know as “voiture sans permis.”(car without a liscence.) It goes like this: Some all knowning/all seeing bureaucrat has defined a “car”as a motor vechile of a certain length/width and power. Creating of course an entrepenurial loophole. Which has been exploited to maximum advantage by manufacturers of postage stamp motor vechiles with all the power of Granny’s sewing machine. Creating,in turn,dangerous driving stuations. Not from teenagers. Who can’t afford,and,don’t want‘em. Not fast? Not cool? No way dude! The danger comes from a segment of the population who should be restricted to operating their pacemakers.Not tiny tin gutless wonders with no power to finesse a tricky situation. And more to the point,a driver without the reflexes.You’re seventy five, don’t hear so well, and you’ve got Parkinsons? No liscence. No problem! Vive La France!
Ever had similar experiences?
THROW ME A BONE HERE PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?