A few years ago, when the French refused to participate in one of our fun foreign wars,
the comedian, Dennis Miller took to calling them :
“Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys”.
I really hate that phrase because it belittles an entire culture.
Clearly, he is missing the point of the French Way of Life.
In America, we just want to get through life.
In France (and most of Europe, as well)
the goal is to savor life.
Let’s do a simple comparison and see how the French
live in comparison to Americans.
In America we love efficiency
The French love beauty.
We communicate with e-mail
the French chat over espresso at a cafe
We gobble our food at fast food places.
The French savor a meal over several hours
We like bargains
the French love quality
We worship celebrity
the French worship art
We believe more is more
The French believe less is more
We buy fake flowers
The French visit markets every day for fresh flowers
We like new and shiny
the French prefer old with patina
We like our desserts BIG.
The French love theirs, small, beautiful and delicious
On Sundays, we go to malls….
The French stand in line to get into the Louvre
We work 40-60-80 hours per week
They rest each afternoon
We get a couple of weeks vacation
They vacation for the entire month of August
At lunch we run errands
they read a book or picnic by the Seine
In Summer, we drive hours to get to the beach.
They bring the beach to Paris
they bring sand to make a beach every summer on the Seine
These are just a few of our differences.
I know it’s fashionable to dismiss the French and many other cultures,
because they are not us!
But honestly, there are so many wonderful things about the way other people live.
I can only assume people who dismiss them are either jealous or grossly misinformed.
There is a lot about life in our country that is good.
Our freedom alone makes everything worthwhile.
But life here is frenzied.
We didn’t get this far in 240 years by being lazy slackers.
We are movers and shakers.
We zip through our lives at “mach 2 with our hair on fire”.
But, in doing so, we have sacrificed many things that disappear at high speed…
Including the view all around us
It wouldn’t hurt to slow down a bit, enjoy our lives and all the beauty .
It wouldn’t hurt to take a page from someone else’s book and learn how to “savor” life.
We could learn a lot from other cultures.
Maybe then we could have the best of every thing life has to offer.
It’s just a thought.
Take a little time to consider it.