samedi 26 janvier 2008
And the rest of the time I merely dislike them.

No, that isn't totally true. I think in general there are very nice, open, caring French people. Heck, I wouldn't be living here if I didn't think so.
It is just hard to remember sometimes that when someone is rude to you that they are doing so because
A) they are a rude person
and/or
B) they are having a hard day.
It is much easier to chalk it up to "They are just being French and French people are (rude, ungracious, haughty, fill in adjective here)."
If the same thing happened to me in the US, I wouldn't blame it on them being American. I would blame it on them being a jerk.

But anyway, today I was doing some shopping the center of the city. A woman stopped me, obviously doing some sort of poll or something. I was about to say sorry and walk away, when she said "You get a free sample of a new perfume".
My ears perked up, so I said okay.
Then she said "Oh, you aren't French are you?"
(thinking that perhaps they needed French nationality people for some reason)
I said no.
She said "Oh, well we need people who live here"
"Well, I do live here in Marseille".
"No, that's okay. You wouldn't understand."
"Excuse me but I understand just fine."
"No really, they call you up and ask you questions and there are a lot of complicated words."

I was so pissed off I just walked away. Felt like yelling in English "F*** you b****!" Yes, I know, terrible. Excuse my English.

I was so mad about it, that I decided to return and give her a piece of my mind. I was going to say that she had insulted me, that I wanted her name, her supervisor's name and telephone number. I walked back to where she had been and didn't see her. Two other woman stopped me and asked me if I would like to answer a few questions. I could tell that they were part of the same group, so I told them no, that I had already been stopped, that the woman had so insulted me that I wanted nothing to do with them. I explained what she had said, that it has been two and a half years that I have lived and worked here in France, and that I found her behavior incredibly rude.
And walked away. It wasn't quite the revenge I was hoping for, but I bet they tell their coworker what I had said and I hope she feels bad.

I mean really, what sort of big complicated questions could they have asked? What is your NAME? Do you like this PERFUME?
It just really pissed me off that she had judged my level of French in a few one-worded responses.

One thing I will have to say about Americans, is that I don't think that strangers are so dismissive if someone has a foreign accent. But this has happened to me so many times in France. People will come up, ask for directions or what time it is, I will start to answer, then they will just say something like "Oh never mind" and walk off. It is so frustrating.
I hate to be that Crazy American Woman who just starts screaming obsenities in English, but it might just happen someday. I don't care if they can understand me and I don't care if they can't understand me.

6 commentaires:

Alisa in Los Angeles a dit…

Thanks for your post on my site. My husband and I would like to move....not sure. We have been to Provence (too busy), The Dordogne (loved loved loved it, but maybe a bit too british), The Rousillon (don't by Perpignan....way to windy) and The Aveyron....(fell in love with this region), near Albi, St. Antonin Noble Val (our most favorite village). We would like to start with 2 months in Paris and then 10 months in the Aveyron region. But would also like to travel to other areas too. Ideally we'd love to move there, but not sure how to make a living. We own a children's art studio now, teach art to children, but don't know if that would fly in France. I'm also a potter and my husband and painter - could do that, but could we make enough to live on. All these things we hope to figure out when we come over for 1 year. How do you like where you live?????

I think here in Los Angeles if someone comes up and tries to speak our language we do help them, they are trying, but I believe in France if you have an accent speaking their language some - not all - dismiss you. We have been very fortunate with everyone we have met on all our trips to france. Most have been very nice and patient with us. But I can so see your point, F*** you b**** would be the first thing that would come to mind as well.

screamish a dit…

OH YEAH!!!!

That happened to me sooo many times in Marseille...someone asks you for directions (I lived there for like SIX years) and they'd hear the accent and walk off.

You really want to plant a fork in their foreheads (OK maybe that's just me!)

But you know, they're the type of person who is just rude in their normal life too...not just with foreigners..too bad for them.

And let's face it, who in Marseille DOESNT have an accent?!

Betty C. a dit…

I have had some of these humiliating experiences, and I have lived her for almost 18 years!

Now I just speak up immediately. They usually have made a snap judgment and are shocked when I can really give them a piece of my mind -- in French.

However, I do want to point out that this is a very small majority of the people I encounter.

screamish a dit…

Oh my god, today i just had another one of those experiences that makes me want to put a bomb under every functionnaire I can find.

Things occasionally cost more if you have an accent..;today I got ripped off massively.

I thought those days were over, but no...

David a dit…

I feel like I have to defend my country here. :-)

You'll find idiots like this everywhere... Really everywhere... It has nothing to do with them being French.

You don't know how many times I met people in the US that just assumed I was a half-wit because I was a foreigner and had an accent (when most of the time, I could have taught them a thing or two about their own language). And I won't even mention the uncountable number of questions along the lines of "Do you have computers in France?" At least, you don't get those kinds of questions in France... (but I'm sure you get some sort of equivalents) :-)

Stupidity is the most universal trait... Sadly...

Soulamouse a dit…

I spent 2 months in Languedoc. I found people a bit...unfriendly?
Here I hang out with French students who come from Northern France and they tell me:" Mais nooo, tu etais dans la pire region de la France...Marseille, c'est un bidonville...Ah, le sud!!!!!!!"
But of course, they do spend their vacation there, despite claims to hate the place.
How do you like the climate??

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