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French – bon et mal | Au revoir la France

French is such a beautiful language that as much pleasure as it creates to hear it spoken well, so much pain it creates to hear it spoken badly. Travelling home to Austria – strangely the journey does feel like going home – I am sequestered with my bicycle next to a compartment where the general tone and quality of speech is so vile that I feel like I am back in Toronto, listening to the kids there.

I would move but there is nothing to be done as I must stay near my bike and my belongings.

Whenever I have relaxed about my personal property in Paris, I have been warned to be careful by friends and girlfriends.\

I’ve had so many things stolen myself – and I was born here and try to be careful, said one friend.

It’s a strange state of mind to have to live with.

Could they not organise themselves to stop stealing? It seems to permeate the state from the government all the way through society.

As great an advocate as I am of the welfare state (either you give the idle bread and booze or they’ll steal it – in any society it is twenty per cent of the people who do three quarters of the work) – when you have people who work three months of the year top collect unemployment (les assidiques, as opposed to welfare which is RMI, révenue minimum d’insertion), you have a problem.

Even in the more privileged classes, high performers in the advertising industry will better struggle for two years to get exactly the position they want, than return to work sooner with a position they don’t like.

So home to Austria, a little more space, a more cogent work environment.

Strangely, the Austrians are supposed to be very idle in comparison to the Germans. I wonder what it must be like to live in Germany. The Austrian way seems to be more like France used to be – which is to say, very intelligent about work. To analyse the work and be done with it as quickly as possible in order to enjoy the rest of life.

Ah more abominable French and the stench of tobacco avec. Reminds me of the trip to the peniche with Marion and Stuart. Not so much dancing as standing on a dance floor and smoking.

I couldn’t quite understand it. One could stay home and smoke.

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