It was bound to happen …

We have been in France for a little under three months and finally the bruising episode.

Many told us we would find the French cold to Americans, especially Americans who don’t speak their language and that we would be stifled by their bureaucracy.

Au contraire!  We have found them, the French and their bureaucracy at every level and in all sorts of situations - as chronicled by the blog – to have a quick and lively sense of humor, and to be friendly and helpful.

So it was rather ironic that the first bad encounter in Paris was with an English speaking, self-righteous Canadian.

Several weeks ago E set out to find a book by an American author.  He went to Shakespeare & Co. who didn’t have it nor was he successful at several other shops.  He found The Abbey Bookshop, a cluttered shop on the Left bank. A Canadian, who appeared to be the owner, said he could order it. E paid him the 15 Euos price and didn’t hear from him for a week.

Last week a call came saying the book was in. E went to the shop, asked for the book and after a 10 minute search through the disorder, the man found it. He asked for the receipt. E told him he had looked but couldn’t find it.  He counters saying he needs the receipt.  E tells him he’ll sign the shop receipt that he had received the book.

This man with a big smile – the smile of the righteous - says, “No tickie, no washie.” He refuses to give up the book. E leaves furious and helpless and in California jargon, spiced with his Brooklyn attitude he says, “Have a bad day!”

The bookend to this encounter is with a Frenchman. Later that afternoon walking home after a coffee at Rostand, across from the Luxembourg Garden, we passed an herbal store. We go inside, E hoping to find a cure for snoring, the constant search. E apologizes for not being able to speak French and asks the man behind the counter if he speaks English. “A little” he says.

E makes the appropriate (snoring) sounds and explains that his wife wants to kill him. The shopkeeper says, here translated: “So you want to get a different wife?”

This is just one reason why we are having a good time in France.



One Response to “It was bound to happen …”

  1. I am shocked, shocked that France actually allows Canadians into the country — let alone run a bookstore.

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