08 October 2009


I got a call from my old friend Frank who I have known for a million years. We went to elementary school together. We speak often (souvent) and its usually to  bitch about the state of the world. It seems pretty easy to do these days. 

The French, believe it or not, also have this wonderful (merveilleux) reputation for bitching and moaning, as well as for being argumentative and self-righteous. I understand this now having here lived (ici) so much of my life. And France, of course, as anyone who has ever been here, knows, just how little it has going for itself.

One could experiment: 

Suppose for example (par example), an American finds himself on a street in Paris exclaiming to a frenchman:

"Ah,,, its so wonderful here in France!" (Ah, c'est merveilleux ici!)

This would certainly trigger off the 'allergy' as it were, and to which the frenchmen would invariably retort: 

"Ah... you think so?,... well, let me tell you: its too expensive, the government is rotten (pourri), the taxes (les impots) are too high, and no one wants to work!" (travailler!) 


If, on the other hand, you had initially said to him:

"Listen (ecoutez) ... France stinks, its too expensive (cher), the air is dirty (sale) and the Parisians are rude!"

In this case, he would inevitably lurch his head high and begin to tell you "what an idiot (imbecile) that you are, Paris is the most beautiful city in the world, if not the Universe, not only that (en plus), he would tell you that you dress like shit (comme la merde) and eat like shit (ditto)!!!"

Ah!! zee french!

But back to Frank, who lives on an island by the way, he is ranting and raving,  going on and on about how screwy thing have gotten in our life time. Youth has gone crazy etc, etc... I was sympathizing from across the ocean when finally he stopped, and after a pause, he said:

"Hey, you remember when we were young (jeune) and we'd get into a taxi in New York, and we'd hear some older guy going on and on about how life 'just wasn't the same anymore',.... everything is just a 'damn mess!' (la pagaille), and how we'd look at each other, and how we'd jump out at the next corner laughing because we were young, and because we could! Do you remember that?"

I nodded into the telephone.

"Well,.... NOW, I'M that cab driver, that old guy bitching and moaning!"

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