La vie est un longue fleuve tranquille (la vee ate'oon longg fluv trankeel)
You know, in France, one of the things you can do to show that you are a foreigner is assume that people want to know your name, who you are, etc. As Americans, we tend to think that doing so makes us seem friendly and accessible to this foreign culture. In fact, they don't give a flying fox who you are . . . at least not for the first, oh 10 times you meet.
This use to bother me at first. I thought "how utterly rude" but then I realised that it's not personal. Let's face it, there are a lot of people we meet once or twice and then that's it. The accent tells them that you are American, a foreigner, and perhaps you teech a leetul Engleesh? See? They had you at "Bonjour".
Ok I simplify, slightly. Keep it it mind next time you want to talk with the locals. Watch how their eyes glaze over after "Bonjour, je m'appelle . . . . "
This is Ralph. After my run, I decided to take the long way back to the car and walk the canal a bit. Ralph here was struggling with his fishing rod because he'd obviously hooked a big fish. His eyes implored me to get the big net laying on the grass and he gladly acquiesced my request to photograph him. He was so pleased at having caught this, his second big prize of the weekend, that he also had me photograph him with his camera. By the way, Ralph was rocking a nice Nikon DSLR, not a dinky point-and-shoot. We talked for a bit about the canal and how the state of fishing. He thanked me for my help and I said au revoir.
Ralph is an unusual name for a Frenchman don't you think?
That's not his real name. I call him Ralph because I think he looks quite a bit like this guy.