Wednesday, 2 December 2009

My good manners are wasted in France

I'm sorry Mum, you raised me well, spent 18 years forming me into a human being who respects rules and other people and taught me the art of politeness. I'm sorry I moved to France and all your hard work was wasted, that no one appreciates it.

In the bus queue yesterday, I hovered back as the bus rolled up to allow an elderly lady pass in front of me. The people behind me sighed loudly and pushed past me muttering that I was holding them up. The poor old lady got on last.

Today, again on the bus, I was the first at the bus stop, and was waiting ages for the bus. I was in the place to get on the bus first but yet as the bus pulled up, every single last person surged forwards leaving me to get on last and as a result, not get a seat.

It really drives me mad this behaviour. I almost want to shout out something but I know that this behaviour is quite normal in France. I always stand up too for elderly people or heavily pregnant women but I am totally in the minority.

You just can't change how you were brought up I guess.


L said...

Last year I knew a French woman who was back from Quebec for a year (her boyfriend studied here for a year, but she's lived there for several years). She said the biggest change for her was realizing how undisciplined the French are. French Canadians have North American behavior (polite, disciplined..) and she couldn't get over how the French just do whatever they want. I thought that was funny coming from a French person. Finally!

Mil said...

When I lived in Lille I had much the same frustration. We Americans line up more than the French, too. They are also highly undisciplined in supermarkets, and as I'm too polite I never say anything just glare at the back of their heads.

Rach said...

I helped a heavily pregnant lady down some stairs with her pram the other day and was tutted at and barged into by a group of people coming up the stairs because they had to move into single file. I ask you! That was in Belgium though (but in the European Council building, so they could have easily been French ;)

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