Some strange people

This week let me introduce – if you have not met them – some strange people. You see, I am living a few weeks in a tiny village in France. All around me are peculiar folks.

First, they are tidy. Incredibly tidy. Their yards, their gardens, their stacks of firewood. Tidy.

And I cannot imagine what they do with their rubbish. I mean, they don’t toss it out the window of their cars. In the U.S.. walk along any country road or highway. You can fill a garbage bag with beer and Coke cans and Quarter-Pounder wrappings every quarter-mile. Here, you would need to vacuum five miles of roadside to fill a shopping bag.

I waded through an outside market of 300 vendors and 10,000 shoppers. No trash on the streets! Are these people crazy? I stopped for lunch. When I came onto the street again, the vendors were gone. The crowds had disappeared. And there was barely a sign either had been there an hour before. No rubbish left behind. Do you suppose they ate it? Or took it with them? When they had a perfectly good street to fling it onto? Crazy people. Crazy.



Here is another way these French are odd: They come to restaurants to eat. To eat! What is the matter with them? No jabbering on cell phones. Or very, very little of it. No texting between mouthfuls. No peek at the emails at each break in the conversation. No surfing favorite websites when the partner slips away to the restroom.

They actually walk along sidewalks without phones pressed to their ears. I have seen them drive cars without using cellphones. Maybe I should report them to the gendarmes.?

While I am there I should also report horrific child abuse. I have seen several playgrounds where the children play on gravel. Yes! When they plop off the end of the slide their little bums land on – gasp – gravel! One playground had blacktop. No rubber matting. Can you imagine the bruising? These playgrounds are like medieval torture chambers. They probably have manacles, thumb screws and the rack tucked behind the hedge.

Wait for this. The French have humiliated their teens. Sacre bleu! (That means Holy Mackeral!) Oh, you see the odd few on motor scooters. But none of them engaging in our healthy tradition of zippin’ round town in cars. Why the high school parking lot has no spaces for kids’ cars. Because the kids have none. How suspicious is that, then?

Here is another oddity. The French don’t eat and drink any old time. Not on the streets. Not driving. Not at the soccer match. They have this whacky tendency to eat only at mealtimes. Maybe that explains why they don’t toss rubbish out the car window. They are deprived of rubbish. Because they’re not stuffing their faces every quarter-hour. They don’t know what they’re missing.

That reminds me. I walked the entire length of that huge outdoor market. Never did I see a food stand. People actually walked along without a hot dog or soft drink. And somehow these people survive without sucking on water bottles all day. Weird.

Maybe that explains why so many of them look positively scrawny. Between the lack of beer bellies and pickup trucks (Have not seen one yet.) I really cannot understand how they survive.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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