Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Cut To The Front

At French class today we were talking about how the French don't believe in lines. How they cut you in line as though they don't even notice you're there. I found it all cathartic because I really can't stand this aversion to lines. You feel like a loser for wanting to wait in line when everyone else is trying to get in front of you.

Usually, the teacher will ask if this happens in each country of each person. I used to be the only American in the class. Although it was a bit overwhelming, I gladly gave the American perspective on things. Now there is another American in class, and a New Yorker to boot. Today she was arguing that New Yorkers don't stand on lines either; that they cut in front of people on lines. Jon, are you reading this? Is this true?

I'd also like to report that I officially have a cool friend. My friend, who is artistic by nature (I don't think I have an artistic bone in my body), is part of a sculpture show over the next two weeks beginning on Tuesday, November 23. Stop by if you are around. Doors open at 6pm.

Les Sculpteurs de L'Atelier Neuilleen de Sculpture et de Ceramique
Hotel Mezzara, 60 rue Lafontaine 75016 Paris

-- said Auntie M in Paris
11:00 PM



It must be regional. In WA state, everyone stands and waits in line patiently. If they even think your cutting, they will tell you off. Just the other day, my daughter was saving me a spot in a line. When I stood next to her I got told off by two asian women. "You CUT!! You CUT!!" And this is just for a freakin' hot dog line. lol
Great Blog BTW.

# posted by BohemianMama : 5:37 AM  

BohemianMama thanks for your comment. That is the way I remember the US -- very line conscious, with the exception of when we are on the road (but that isn't as personal).

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 9:02 AM  

I lived in NYC for 5 years and I don't necessarily agree with the woman in your class. I just came from there 7 months ago, so I don't think my memory is that foggy. In France, I find that people will cut in line and no one will say anything to them. I always tell my boyfriend that they are lucky my French isn't better, because I would be sure to say something. Now in NYC, you can bet someone will say something if you try to cut in line.

When I went to the Pharaoh Exposition the other day, I could not get over how all of the French were standing in a line IN THE MUSEUM. I thought that once they got inside, they would all scatter, but they just got in line behind the last person and slowly waited to make their way past each and every piece. I found it really bizarre. I think they just take art/history/culture a lot more seriously.


# posted by Anonymous : 9:38 AM  

I'm french and I live in the USA (PA) and this line thing is really incredible for me.
Now, I understand what you're saying about french because, it's so true, we don't like to wait in line and we think that we can be smarter than everybody by getting first at the end.
But how american people can be so patient and so polite and wait without ever complaining... there are lines everywhere and everybody is waiting... so I try to be more quiet in line but most of the time, I'd just leave and come back when they'd be less people waiting.

# posted by Jérôme : 11:57 PM  

YES! Thank you!
I'm so bloody fed up with this cutting in line business. It's uncivilized. Everybody's obviously got a good reason to be in line, so please, why the lack of disrespect? I blogged earlier this week about the nasty french immigration office, where line-butting has reached it's pinnacle of abuse. For me, cutting the line is pure passive agression and I'd like to bite them, with teeth and canines, in reply.
sorry to freak. most of the time I'm a nice Canadian girl. ;p

# posted by NARDAC : 4:21 AM  

I will never deal with people cutting me in line because I do take it personally. One day I was waiting in line with my daughter with a stack of pictures I wanted copied and the woman behind me asked if she could go ahead because she just had to pick up her photos. I let her, because I actually had the time, but I said to my daughter, in English, "the woman wanted to go first because she thinks she is more important than we are." I guess the woman understood English because she was angry about my comment and said so. But really, that's what it boils down to for me... this other person thinks their time is more valuable than mine.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 8:09 AM  

I had to comment, I KNOW EXACTLY what you mean! It drove me absolutely insane!!! I didn't experience it so much in Paris, but the non-line observance is alive and well in Germany. It always baffled me to have people cut in line at the grocery store! How can you see someone with a cart of groceries, obviously intending to pay and leave, and decide to just help yourself to a place in front of them!? I am so happy to be back in the land of lines...

Carrie :)

# posted by Carrie : 10:53 AM  

When last visiting Europe, my husband and I found great amusement in letting a miniscule amount of space develop between us and the person in front of us when standing in line (of course we could only do this when people saw fit to form a line , which was rare in and of itself!). The tension this caused in the person behind us was a great source of comedy the entire trip!

# posted by Anonymous : 4:06 PM  

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