mardi 14 mars 2006
This is one thing that I have noticed living in France and it really irritates me-
When people stop me in the streets to ask a question, "What time is it?" "Can you tell me where the nearest Metro station is?" etc. and I try to answer, or ask them to repeat the question, often I get "Oh. You are not French. Never mind." Like I couldn't possibly say "It is 4:30" in French or at least point and grunt.
I was in the mall a few months ago. A woman was standing outside a store, handing out things. She called me over, out of curiousity I went. She handed me a card for the store, a bookstore. She was asking me things like how many books I read per month, etc. Well, I obviously took too long to reflect on that question, so she said "Oh. you are not French are you?" and took the card back. Ok, that was nice. I explained this to Alain, thinking that perhaps for some reason only French nationals could get that discount. He said that he thought it was more that she figured I wouldn't read French books. Yes, because foreigners who are in France trying to learn French would never try to actually READ a French book!
Now granted if a opinion pollster stops me in the street and wants my feelings on the current state of French foreign affairs, I am probably going to say "I don't know" and runaway. But I do know basic numbers, directions, yes, no, etc.
Today I was walking back from taking out the trash, and a woman approached me. She wasn't really looking at me while posing her quesion. One of those "I am too busy and important to actually look at you, but I need you to help me" kind of people. She posed a question in a mumbling, distracted manner. I gathered that she was looking for a market or store. I said Pardon? She said "Oh you are not French." and wandered off without saying excuse me, or sorry for bothering you, or goodbye, or anything at all. Argh!
Though I admit that sometimes it is helpful at times, even when I know perfectly the question. "Hi! We would like to tell you about our new long-distance service! Do you have 30 minutes to listen to me blab on and on?"
- What? I am sorry. I don't understand. I am not French. Goodbye.

1 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…


I just spent an hour catching up on your blog--delightful! One of my favorite "Tu/vous" stories whas when I was au pair in Paris. The children were always very scrupulous about using vous with me, but were constantly yelling at each other to shut up (ta gueule!) when they got madat each other.One day the ten year old boy I was taking care of was trying to drop water balloons out of their third story apartment window on the other residents as they came and went. He got furious with me when I confiscated his balloons, and when I tried to explain why he couldn't do that, he, who always used vous with me, shouted, "Votre gueule!"

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