Friday, November 24, 2006

French culture

Freedom fry-lovers, you should probably avert your eyes...

The things you can learn from podcasts. I listened to a recent Rick Steves podcast in which he talks about different things in French culture with the philosopher Bernhard-Henri Levy (I know him as the author of American Vertigo, although I have not read it yet). They highlighted a few differences in everyday culture between what sombunall French do and what sombunall Americans do, and I think I have some more insight into some of my habits. Although I'm about as French as French fries are, I obviously have a French last name, and so some family habits have probably carried some things down over the generations.

Things I practice:

1. I usually keep a firm wall between home life and work life. I usually like people I work with; I just choose to keep home and work apart - never the twain shall meet is my motto. I know many Americans find this off-putting when I practice this - especially when it comes to the infamous "holiday" party. I don't think I've attended an out-of-work office party in my entire career. It's just something that has never interested me. Luckily, Tiffany isn't very interested in attending them. To hear other men tell it, they are "forced" by their wives to go - something I doubt in most cases, but I'm sure happens in some.

2. The sacred lunch. As far as I'm concerned, lunch break is sacred. I just can't understand people who sometimes skip lunch because they are "too busy", or just as bad, wolf down something god-awful like a hot dog. That's asinine in my opinion. Choosing not to eat because you are too busy is like choosing not to breathe because you are too busy. Work is only fantasy, nutrition is real.

3. Coffee comes AFTER the meal. When I want coffee served after my meal, I sometimes forget to ask for it ahead of time. I'm expecting the server to come around asking about dessert so I can ask for coffee - and often the check arrives, so I have to skip the coffee.

In truth, I've never been to France, and had very few associations with the French, but sometimes you wonder about past lives or's uncanny how many of these things that Rick and Levy went over that I do...

I dare say you sound French! Come on over and you'd be welcome.
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