True confession first: I like France. It’s got incredible food, wine, cheese, and an adherence to a quality of living that no other country seems to match. They also have some art, some architecture, and, oh yes, did I mention the food? Yes, I love to eat.
Now that’s over with, there is one big downside to the French. It’s that, well, THEY’RE FRENCH! Every time we visit there’s at least one strike going on. There’s always the dog poop in the streets, and I swear they enjoy seeing how frustrating they can be over some of the most mundane events.
“Waiter, I’d like to sit over there,” says I.
“You can not,” he says, in his thick accent.
“But why? There is no one else in this cafe. It’s well after lunch, and no one is coming in. May I sit there?”
“Very sorry, Sir, you can not.” And away he goes. He doesn’t care if I go or stay. He’s French!
More fun observations on the French later. For now, I came across a signature today that reminds me one one interesting aspect of the culture. I may be wrong, so please jump in and correct me if I am. Here it is.
The French take great pride in developing signatures that are absolutely nothing like their name. Seriously. Take the name, Frederic. Now, make a straight line, put a squiggle at the top, loop it down and around and then squiggle it again off to the right.
That’s his name. I don’t understand it, and if you can find a single letter inside that ideogram you’re a better person than I. I asked him what the story was and he explained that all great French (which means all of them) sign their names so that they have no relationship to the letters.
I need a good cafe. Adieu.