Odds & Ends from France

“All a GPS can do is get you from one town to the next,” Kathy said disdainfully.

All she is doing is getting me from one car to the next — and they’re all heading straight toward me.

Today we took a white road, one with no number, no center divide, no shoulder and a diameter about the width of my car.  The only problem is that traffic moved in both directions.

I am developing an etiquette for driving on such roads: Drive as far to the right as possible, stop as any car approaches, close my eyes,  pray.

I am not driving any more white roads.


Some aspects of modernity should never have intruded in France. Others are well overdue.

We’re noticing a lot more of the big-box Intermarches this time around. These are super large grocery stores. I’ll take the open-air markets any day. The food is fresher, and they serve a cultural purpose. They are occasions to see and be seen.  I hope the Intermarches are not their death knell.

Toilets, on the other hand, should be part of any 21st century restaurant. Or more specifically, toilet seats. Go into a French brasserie, even a beautiful one overlooking the Dordogne River, for example, and the odds are perhaps 50/50 that the toilet won’t have a seat.  It’s time for France to abandon its tradition as the country of squat.


We met the mayor of our little village, Payzac, yesterday. We walked into city hall in search of directions to the evening’s traveling festival.  We turned to our left and an earnest-looking man sprang to his feet and solemnly shook hand with both of us. We were impressed. He was less so upon learning our purpose. He turned us over to his secretary who drew us a map.


About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at www.jerrylanson.com. My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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