Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cultural Differences (2)

One evening (May 2003), Jody and I were at Monoprix, a supermarket with a discount store attached.  It's a chain, and this one was on Rue Saint-Antoine in Paris.  We love going into grocery stores in other countries, to see what kinds of things we can find and wonder how in the world you could eat that.  Our objective, believe it or not, was to bring home some French cat food.  Our alpha male cat had some French cat food a few years earlier from our first trip to France, and we knew he would enjoy some more, and by then we had another cat to help out with the project.

We were poking around in the food section.  They had a wine cellar, so I went down there.  After looking around for a minute, I headed up the stairs, only to encounter a small boy pushing one of those little kid size carts.  He was not paying attention and had pushed the cart down the stairs and was toppling down himself.  The cart was full of stuff, including a couple of bottles of wine. The stuff in the cart was now flying everywhere, broken glass was everywhere, potatoes rolling around.  

I caught the cart, with boy attached (he was maybe 4 or 5) and kept him from landing on his head, and slicing himself up on the broken glass.  My wife came running to help, and then a woman too old to be his mother showed up in a panic.  It was quite a scene. 

Naturally, every word of French that we knew was gone from our heads at this point and all we could say was 'are you OK' to the boy.  Then Grand-mere (or babysitter) smacked him. I said 'he’s not OK any more'.  It was just a tap, but it made him cry. At any rate, the woman was very thankful once she realized the boy could have been hurt pretty badly.  I got wine all over my shoes, but it was worth it.

We did find some French cat food.  It made a hit. But subsequently Customs has confiscated any cat food we’ve tried to bring home. C'est triste!

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