CHAPTER SEVENTY-EIGHT :
lundi 8 août 2016
CHAPTER SEVENTY-EIGHT :
Hello August passengers,
Your captain speaking.
How are you ?
Perky and as keen as mustard because your holidays are in full swing ? Great ! Then you are all set to embark on a new funny adventure !
Feeling blue because your fully-deserved Summer break is over or nearly over ? Don't worry ! Captain Perky and her crew will stand by you through thick and thin. We will do our best to add some cheer to your humdrum routine, lift your spirit ,and let's hope, get you to crack a smile ! Sure,raising the corners of your lips, lighting a spark in your eyes and showing your pearly whites will help you bounce back from stress and gloom. So,let yourself go !
Anyway,whatever your mood and your activities, thanks for sparing some time for our weekly appointment. Well, maybe ,' appointment ' is a bit too formal, isn't it ? It sounds as if you were sitting in the waiting room of a GP's or dentist's surgery, and I hope heading to the gangway of Perky Busy Bee ocean liner is everything but stress-triggering !
So, forget about ' appointment ', and let me quote Susan, one of our regular passengers :
" I always look forward to Monday morning, and as a die-hard fan I have never missed that perky hour break. I usually end up feeling happier, and, as a result,acting perkier ! ".
Dear Susan, I do feel honoured, and I hope I'll always manage to help you look on the bright side of life !
Enough small talks now, otherwise you'll get bored to death, and avoid Perky Busy Bee like the plague, won't you ?
Well, as a matter of fact, today I wanted to ask you a question, but, to be honest, I didn't know ho to phrase it . I didn't want to be too straightforward, but after unsuccessful attempts to 'preface' that question, it turned out it was no use beating around the bush, so here it goes :
" In the place where you live, are there regional stereotypes that have ever ruined or made your day ? ".
Come on, no general outcry ! I am not tackling any topical issue ! That's the journalists' job to keep harping on about that kind of stuff !!
No, I mean, for example, in France some stereotypes die hard :
the inhabitants of Auvergne are said to be mean, the Northeners are seen as welcoming, the Normans indecisive (maybe yes, maybe no), and the people of the South as liars.
Is there any truth to them ? I'll let you decide ...
Anyway, there are some images you are stuck with, and once, Dearhubby and myself paid the price for it ...
Let me tell you.
When we were living in Paris, on Saturday morning we enjoyed going to the nearby open-air market. Amongst the fruits-and-vegs, meat, fish ,and cheese stalls, there was a delightful friendly eatery where we used to have lunch after our weekly household shopping. Everything was fresh and tasty, and the staff brisk and discreet.
So,the place soon became a kind of ' Saturday second home ', and as regulars we got better treatment. It does not mean first-time guests or occasional visitors were treated badly,of course, but from the moment we walked through the door till the moment we left, we were given special attentions (favourite table, favourite dish, and so on ...).
That Saturday lunch routine was a kind of weekly top-notch experience, till one day, the chef came to our table to know if we had enjoyed his special.
In those days I was already pretty talkative (Dearhubby says it runs in the family), and soon we were talking about this and that.
When he learned that we were from Brittany, I guess the stereotype about the Bretons immediately crossed his mind : sure his two regulars were stubborn, but he didn't care about that at all ! No, what mattered was that the Bretons are said to be good drinkers (not to say 'heavy' ones...).
" Hang on a sec ", he said and then rushed behind the bar and came back with a dusty bottle of hooch !!
Before we had time to tell him we were not keen on spirits, he had served the hard stuff (and not just one drop, unfortunately), raised his glass and said :
" The drinks are on the house ! "
Jeez ! In a wink (or I should say, in a gulp) my stomach turned into a blast furnace or an erupting volcano !!
We thanked him with tears in our eyes (not tears of sorrow, as you can imagine) and left the restaurant with the chef on the threshold telling us :
"Next time I'll treat you with a home-made spirit ! "
The next Saturday we lingered a while before entering our favourite haunt, but the list of dishes on the big slate outside made our mouths water so much that we stepped in.
When coffee time came, once more the chef walked to our table with his ominous bottle !
Before he had time to uncork it, we told him we were awfully sorry, but we were just trying to become teetotallers.
He stared at us suspiciously and asked :
"How long have you been living in Paris ? ".
" About 30 years ", Dearhubby answered.
" No wonder then ! ", the chef exclaimed, "you have been contaminated by the Parisians ! Most of them were not born in Paris, but sooner or later they surrender their regional heritage and ancestry, and behave as if they were Parisian through and through ! They don't eat, they peck,they don't drink, they sip ! ".
He was on his way for an endless list of stereotypes, when Dearhubby interrupted him and said :
" Come on, we were just joking ! ".
I managed to give him a kick under the table,but too late !
Our glasses were already full up and I could hear my stomach begging for mercy !!
Fortunately the nearby chemist was not Breton, and the bottle she took out from behind the counter turned my heartburn into a dormant volcano ...until the next eruption , that is to say, the next Saturday !
Don't worry, we moved before becoming drunkards !
So, now it is oyur turn to tell me about the regional stereotypes in your country !
Make the most of each day and don't forget : be perky !