Je ne parle pas Français

It means, “I don’t speak French.”

Maybe it should read, “I won’t.”

Poll time:

Most romantic city in the world.  Name it.

Please tell me you didn’t say it.

NOOOOOO.  You did NOT say Paris, right?  I just watched a show where a couple won a trip to “The Most Romantic City.”  They hadn’t traveled much, and they were to celebrate their 20th anniversary in Paris.

I wanted to apologize to them for the “amazing” trip they won.

I know, I know.  I’m in the minority and sounding much like a negative dream-wrecker right now.  But, I just don’t get it.

And…wait for it…I am admitting I’ve never been there.  Though my husband has been to Europe more times than I can count and always starts in France, I have chosen not to join him.  My main reason is that I still have a 14 year old at home that I am responsible for until she is grown.  But truthfully, I just have zero interest because I’ve heard the stories.

Not only has my husband been there a lot, but my son has been on his own business trips there.  In fact, he has spent 30 days of 2013 in France.

Also, my daughter, who was enamored with the idea of all thing Paris joined her Daddy on a trip there when she was 16.  And it wasn’t even the Icelandic volcano that trapped them there that disenchanted her.

I’m sorry.  But I feel compelled to tell you that they really dislike France.  Especially and specifically Paris.  There are some nice things to see on the western and southern sides, but for the most part, it’s a no.

Do you want a list?

Filthy.  I’m taking poop-on-the-sheets-filthy.  If you do find a clean bed, it looks like it was made for one of the seven dwarves. And we aren’t even tall people.

Rude.  Yes, what you have heard is true the majority of the time.

Stinky.  Smells like urine as you stroll the streets.

Insane.  The traffic there has caused more stress than explainable for my guys who have literally driven this entire country.

Overrated.  Why do we care about the Eiffel Tower anyway?  Why?  It’s a big metal structure!!  So what?  No one feels romantic about the St. Louis Arch!  It’s pretty neat!  I’ve been there.  It has pods where Eiffel only has stairs!

History.  Yes, there’s a lot of history.  My first thought, the Guillotine.  Now there’s some romance!!  Wow.

Architecture.  Sure.  Along with the rest of Europe.

Food.  Okay.  You got me there.  These people make food the right way.  Time and butter.  I understand this, and if I’m ever there, I, like Julia, would love some French cooking classes.

Buuuut…they also eat pigeons.  Pigeons, people.  They don’t even do that in New York. Image

Can someone please tell me why this place is so iconic?  Let’s not even try to get to ROMANTIC.

Paris is on my list down around, oh, say, Hong Kong or New Delhi for places I hope my man never takes me.

It makes me wonder how many things we are told are good and told enough times until pretty soon we believe they are.  The proverbial frog in the pot not knowing he’s getting boiled!

Do you know that folks in France are taxed 60% of their income?  They work for the first eight months of every year to pay taxes and what they earn in the last four is what they actually bring home.

In addition, they are taxed based on the size of the engine in their car.  That’s why no one drives a pickup.  (Didn’t you wonder?)

And did you know that their gasoline is the equivalent of us paying $8.00 per gallon?

Let’s not even talk sales’ tax.

I bet you didn’t know that they don’t (for the most part) choose their own house plans.  Most of them are pretty much the same.  The most you’ll see different outside of a house is the color of the potted plants.

French people cannot defend themselves against bad guys.  True story.  If you’re French and you have armed robbers come into YOUR house and attack YOUR family, YOU will get sued if you hurt the attackers and have to pay them restitution.  After you get out of jail.

There is one electric company.  No competition.  You pay what you’re told to pay if you want electricity.  Same for other services.

There’s so much more, I just don’t feel like typing it all.

BUT, French students all go to university (college) for free.  And everyone goes.

And their health care (such as it is–though you might die waiting in line to receive care) is free.

So French people will tell you that the lack of freedom is worth the cost.

But they don’t know freedom like we do.  To them, Americans are a bunch of hairy, wild cowboys living in the Wild West.  My son has literally stopped groups of people in their tracks in the street as if he were a celebrity or freak of nature due to his long hair, beard, and cowboy boots.  Their eyes bug out of their heads when they hear that we own guns.  Plural.  Knives alone would get them arrested.

This is their version of normal.

And I’m scared of what normal could become for us.  We’ve always been known for bucking the establishment!  That’s how we started!  Once upon a time we dumped the system off the boat and into a harbor and made one giant cuppa tea!

Then, being different and standing on our own ideals was rewarded.  Now, everywhere I look I see the Joneses.

We have to have.

I should have.

If only I had.

Status.

Entitlement.

A huge case of the gimmes.  

The dress.  The ring.  The house.  The car.

The TYPICAL.

Yuck.  Throw me in the car and take me on a roadtrip anyday.  Heck, if I can drive there, it’s well worth my trip.

Sell my big ol’ house and put me in a little cottage by a big lake with my family, and I’ll be the happiest girl you ever did see.

Don’t tell me what school, what health choices, what items I may own, what standard I must live up to.

I follow ONE.  One standard.  And all it boils down to is my natural response to the greatest of loves.  It keeps me toeing a line.  The only one that counts.

And for our next anniversary, my man knows I’ll be happier with some fudge and a carriage ride rather than the Arc de Triomphe EVERY SINGLE TIME.

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