Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Drive

Today I drove to the next town to do some shopping. A Target opened up there and I had to check it out. It's a fun store and there are always some good sales going on. Today was no different. There is so much choice. It's like a candy store to someone like me who is living in a city where choice is very limited and if you ever see something you like you better buy it right then because chances are very high that the store will run out and not reorder what you liked.
Anyway, I drove in the US today for the first time in a long time. I am so used to diving in France, which I always liken to the Wild West -- not many rules, but lots of common sense. Here in the US it is all about the rules.
When I first moved to France we bought a car. About a year after that, the speedometer broke. Every time I drove I had no idea how fast I was driving. The speedometer was broken for 8 months and it was no big deal. There are rarely ever any speed limit signs in Paris. I never drive there thinking a police officer might pull me over because I'm going too fast. It just doesn't happen.
What a difference here! I was driving in a 40 mile an hour lane with my nephew today and he said "you can go 44 mph here without the police pulling you over." You can drive 43 mph, but if you drive 46 mph you risk getting an expensive reckless driving fine.
I miss the freedom of common sense driving in Paris. Can you imagine driving in the US for 8 months with a broken speedometer? I can't imagine that either.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
10:20 PM



Funny you would mention Target - my son (on his 5th grade exchange trip to Paris 2 yrs. ago) likened Monoprix to Target, "...Monoprix is like the French Target...".

It's interesting how wise one becomes when they have lived / traveled to other countries, as you, and see the value in the way "things just are" and how silly we in the US do things sometimes.

What do the wee ones think of the holiay trip so far?

Happy Holidays - Terry in SF

# posted by Anonymous : 4:38 AM  

I would be terrified to drive in Paris. Very impressive! I drove today (in the US) for the first time in 8 months--sweet liberty!

Tomorrow-Target. (pronounced tar-JAY, bien sur)

# posted by Coquette : 5:30 AM  

Hey Auntie M - are you in Connecticut? (saw this by the ticket information you posted) That is where I am from - Bridgeport to be exact!! My family all live there (Bridgeport and the Naugatuck area). Give a big "wave" for me if you pass through these cities.

# posted by Pat : 10:10 AM  

one of my biggest complaints about the US is the loss of personal responsibility in almost all aspects of daily life. Europe as a whole seems to 'get' this concept so much more. I'm tired of all the rules over on this side of the pond...

# posted by John Chimpo : 4:59 PM  

Terry, Yes, I guess Target is like Monoprix. It's that type of store...except there are better deals and there is so much stuff for kids at Target. The kids are having a lot of fun hanging out with the cousins. It's pretty low-key here. I was thinking about taking them to a movie, but most seem to be pg13.
Coquette, Tar-jay is the best!
Pat, Yes I'm in CT, a bit away from Bridgeport, but I'll wave to your family from the plane when I leave.
John, Welcome to the blog. Yes, sometimes you feel like a grown-up in Europe because you have to take responsibility for your decisions. You don't think "I'll sue that person if things don't work out the way I planned."

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 5:07 PM  

I moved to Paris in August of 2005. Because I was missing home I wanted to hold a Thanksgiving dinner with 14 of our new French friends. I ordered a turkey from Monoprix on Rue des Ternes and to my horror it was not there! We were told that we could only have the turkey on the morning of our dinner party so you can only imagine our frustration!

When we filed a complaint I received a rude email from the Director M. Muller that basically stated that they spent 20 mins. on the phone with me (which apparently was too long) and that they never have turkeys before Dec. 10th so it was my fault!

So I am boycotting Monoprix and ask that you ALL do the same. This is not the place to shop if you want to be treated with respect!

# posted by Anonymous : 5:53 PM  

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