A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

21 March 2006

1) In this internet age, one must still press the "shift" key to access the top-row numbers on French keyboards. Instead, the default setting gives various accented vowels and punctuation marks. Yet the "dot" (known to those of us with college degrees as the period) also requires hitting "shift". On the other hand, the quote marks simply require a tap of the "3" key--or in English, 3"3.

Does this imply that the French never use the period? Must read some Balzac in the original, perhaps it's all a single sentence?

2) The Euro may be worth a bunch of Francs. France seems to have taken up the Euro the way Canada has absorbed the Systéme Metrique--You know, where you drive miles out of your way to save a few pennies on a litre of gas? And cheese priced by the kilo is actually sold by the pound?

Some French people still clearly think in Franc, but most speak Euro.

3) By all visible signs, headphones haven't the huge popularity here that they have at home. Few people on public transit (of which the largest element is named the "Metro"--I'm flattered) are to be seen either tuning out (exception--one something-teen absorbing a film from her laptop on the train to Chartres yesterafternoon) or speaking loudly of personal matters into their cell phones. Mostly.

In fact, the French appear to speak quietly in any circumstances. Despite a (from what I can see) undeserved reputation for rudeness, I suspect that were this internet café to catch fire, myself and Mme. Metro would be hied hence with a whisper-ish "Escuzons-nous, monsieur et madame, mais le café est au feu. Vueillez sortir dans la prochain cinq secondes?"

This was brought home with some force by a chat with a really nice guy from California while queing to get into Sainte-Chapelle. His voice seemed to boom off the mediaeval stone with the resonance of a loudspeaker. Of course he was also seventy-odd, so deafness may have been a factor.

Also observed on public transit, people don't seem to catch one anothers' gazes quite as directly as at home, yet they seem to have a sense of smaller personal space.

4) EVERYONE £µç/ing smokes! Indoors, outdoors, and between doors. Today, Mme. M. saw a guy butt out his cigarette on the floor of a café as he received his change from the owner, who had just sold him a fresh pack.

Gotta go, for the same reason as last time, more-or-less.

Play nicely.


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