Monday, October 27, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is the Capital in the Country?

During a recent conversation, a French person expressed confusion about Washington D.C. and Washington state. Another French person piped in and asked if Washington D.C. was really in the US because it wasn’t a state and wasn’t in a state. I hope she was joking, but after the experience I had with someone thinking that Alaska was an island, I may need to carry a map of the US ready to show to the US-geography-challenged.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Metro Manners

I was on the metro on my way to an appointment when, at one of the stops, a middle aged woman yelled to let her get on. I guess people near the door weren’t moving out of her way fast enough. She passed two empty fold-down seats, nudged a lady on the shoulder and told the lady to let her sit down. She said she wasn’t well, she was handicapped.

The lady gave up her seat without a word and went to one of the empty fold-down seats, while the rest of us stared. The handicapped lady kept coughing loudly without making any attempt to cover her mouth. She asked the young man sitting next to her for the time and then argued with him about what time he had said (she thought he gave a time 15 minutes later than he actually did).

Her supposed handicap was not evident, at least I couldn’t see anything physically wrong with her. Perhaps it was mental. But handicap or not, shouldn’t some “basic” manners be commonplace? How much effort does it take to politely ask someone for her seat rather than commanding her to give it up? Or how about sitting in an empty seat?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hungry Knee

This past weekend the Brit took me to a fabulous restaurant on Ile St Louis for my birthday. There was a couple at the table to my left and during our main course, they had dessert. While enjoying a delicious osso bucco, my peripheral vision caught something flying from the other table. I felt something damp on the side of my knee, looked, then wiped it off with my napkin. The woman at the other table turned red and began apologizing profusely, while her companion laughed and jokingly held up his napkin between us. The Brit looked at me with an unspoken question written on his face. “Some of her sorbet ended up on my leg”, I answered and kept eating.