Chez Soi

Adventures of a Year Abroad

Talking Different

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Cropped orange homelessThis post is about how talking is different in Paris…  Well, sure, sometimes it’s in French, but that’s not what I mean.  The picture at the left captures two aspects of what I mean (and a third comes farther down).  First, the Orange store…  Second, the homeless couple sitting on the sidewalk.  (This is on Rue de Sèvres… if you know the area, you might notice that Le Bon Marche is in the background.)

This was earlier today, and Kiddo and I had just left the Orange store.  It was our second visit there recently because we needed to get a new SIM card for him, um, twice.  First time was a mugging, by high school kids who he recognizes but don’t go to his school. (We have not filed a police report yet because we had to track down the phone’s IMEI…  But now we have it and will file tomorrow.  Not sure what will happen but feels like civic duty and maybe, just maybe, they will bust these guys.)  Second time was maybe a loss, but feels like a “prank” (not a theft?) in part because the screen was SERIOUSLY damaged (so who would steal it) but came so close after mugging, and was in the company of many schoolmates who were aware of the mugging and “pranks” are common.  But no one has returned the phone, so…  Both the mugging and the likely prank are ways in which talking is different for us in Paris.  [Note to future self… this was around the same time my S4 started “losing” its SIM card, requiring frequent reboots and leading to replacement with SE (no relation).]

The homeless folks enter the picture because I’m amazed at how often I see Parisians engaged in conversation with homeless people.  Maybe this is not so much a Parisian thing as a big-city thing? That is, maybe it happens in New York City and I’m just unaware?  Why does that idea seem so unlikely?  Anyway, I have seen these conversations at least half a dozen times, and I’m sure it’s slipped my notice as often as not.  But when I do notice, it strikes me, as it did today, and this time it prompted a photo, which increases the odds I will write a blog post. And voila!

But while we were out and about, I thought, hey, let’s go have lunch in a new place.  I remembered a place that had previously intrigued me, though I couldn’t recall why, just where it was.  And since this place was a mere kilometer away (not far when you’re used to walking, as we are in Paris), off we went.  When we got there, it was obvious why I remembered it…

Scaled Menhir

The name of the restaurant is “menhir”, which I have only ever heard of in Asterix and Obelix comics (or “graphic novels”).  Menhirs are really large stones that Obelix quarries as his livelihood or maybe just a hobby (hard to tell… Obelix has superhuman strength but somewhat childlike mentality). These books were a major part of my learning and practicing German (though a menhir is a “hinkelstein” in German), and later French.  Kiddo has numerous A & O books, mostly in French and German, but with one or two in English and (recently) Spanish.  So, yet another connection to talking different.

Unfortunately, we didn’t actually eat there, as the resto was closed.  Walked down the road a short way to the Pasteur metro stop, where we found the aptly named “Au Métro.” Randomly, the place offered Oldarki , a Basque beer that I’d never had before.  Lunch was predictably good, and the beer was tasty, yet lower in alcohol than my go-to Leffe. But I have not doubt that if you drink enough it’ll make you talk different.

Author: curtbeckmann

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