Published: June 29th 2008June 29th 2008
I have been meaning to write an entry about driving, drivers, biking in France. I know that there are clichés--I am finding them to be true!
When I first rented a bike a few weeks ago, I observed the other drivers "like bats out of Hell!" not even slowing down as they and I approached the same narrow space. At first I would stop, wait, and sometimes hold my breath as they missed me and other obstacles (like buildings!) by mere centimetres. On the other hand, the French are almost self-righteous about yielding to the right or to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Still, I remain timid.
Soon I noticed that I was starting to act like them, zooming into tiny openings--oh no! How could this be happening to me?
I remember my friend, Barb, years ago, noting the instant transformation of her French friends when they got behind the wheel. Intelligent, articulate accademicians turned into frenzied demons, yelling obscenities and using vivid gestures towards other drivers.
I think this is all part of the French mentality which does not SE PATIENTER very well. Slowing down is just not part of their awareness. Observe a French person in a lineup: pacing back and forth, elbowing in front, clicking tongue, rolling eyes Heavenward, as if any of that helps move the line ahead!
After much asking around and searching in dictionaries, I have found a pretty good equivalent for the expression " like a bat out of Hell!" = à tombeau ouvert.
And parking...that could be another whole discussion...