The COW (Complaint Of the Week) hasn’t officially begun yet, but I need to warm up. Let’s go.
When I moved to France I expected to have difficulty dealing with the French. I have never been a francophile, I was more of a ‘vive la manche’ kinda gal. Nevertheless, as time has gone on, I’ve come to see that while they have their national quirks, on an individual level, French people are just as varied as English people are. Some you really click with, and others you can’t stand.
However. I never anticipated that I would have trouble with the English. It turns out that simply being part of an ethnic minority that speaks the same language does not mean that you are therefore in the company you would usually pick. Example. In the past two weeks I’ve heard:
- ‘I left my husband – he stayed in the house in Surrey and I moved to the villa down here’,
- ‘My father was a general in the army – when I was at boarding school…’, and
- ‘My husband didn’t want me to work – you didn’t in those days’.
All delivered with a kind of sad, ‘poor me’, smile. Right. Now. To be brief, these aren’t the kind of people I normally hang out with. Call me a snob, but they irritate the hell out of me.
First of all, if you’re given a freebie villa in the south of France, who cares if you haven’t got a husband? Especially when you left him. Second, if your dad was rich enough to send you to boarding school you should count yourself very lucky to have received an excellent education. And third, as I remember, both my mother and grandmother worked all their lives, so they must have been an exception to the ‘women didn’t work in those days’ rule, which I assume applied to the rich folk.
Since I’ve been here, I’ve only met one person who has lived north of Buckingham (and that’s Buckingham, not Birmingham) and she’s French. Nobody knows where I’m from, they talk to me as if I’m one of them and all my stereotypes of rich, stockbroker-belt southerners are being confirmed. Their air of entitlement blows me away and I’m staggered to see how they really haven’t got a clue how lucky they are.
I can’t wait to speak really fluent French. I’ll fake an English accent and pretend not to understand them.
Sorry for the missing French version, I’m too annoyed to think straight.
Song of the day
Rant over. Whew, I feel so much better. This is a great Christmas song. Love it love it love it.