Monday, April 4, 2016

LAUNDRY IN PARADISE


If you had to cite one, single, horrendous consequence of Adam and Eve's misadventure with an apple in the Garden of Eden, it would have to be laundry.

You'd rather that humans had not discovered sex? You would deny yourself the great privilege and joy of raising a child? Granted, both activities can get messy. And smelly. But who would care about the muss and the fuss if the result wasn't a load of messy, smelly laundry?

And guess what. If you live in France, you'll have to do laundry. Yes. Even in the south of France, where the sun shines 300 days a year, stuff gets dirty.


And not just clothes get dirty in France. Floors need to be swept, mopped, and/or vacuumed. Dinner dishes need washing. And speaking of dirty dishes, where do you suppose that food in France comes from? Do you think that it grows on trees? Uh...well...some of it does. But most of us need to go to market at some point, whether the market in the village square or the Carrefour supermarket. And if it's the Carrefour, that probably means getting in the car. And if you own a car, it is bound to break down. And even if you do the work on it yourself, your clothes will get dirty. And you know what that means.

Laundry.

Lately, I've been reading any number of blog posts and newsletter articles that have bemoaned one aspect or another of life in France. More precisely, living in France. These writings are not the work of tourists. The authors are expats living in France permanently. They grumble. Their roofs leak. Insects invade. Machinery balks. Intransigent bureaucrats frustrate them. One recent essayist living in a rural village expressed disappointment that so few neighbors spoke English, that so many neighbors hunted to put food on the table.

The American comedian Jerry Seinfeld has a tagline. Who are these people? "They have the greeting cards with the couples on the front. They photograph them. These hazy focus people. They’re always having picnics. There’s always a tree, a pond… who are these people? I don’t know them. I don’t want them on my card either."

Living in France is not a greeting card. It's not a vacation. Living in France is living. It's sitting for an hour on a cracked, vinyl-covered chair in a waiting room until the mechanic comes out and tells you that it will take several days and 900 euros to fix your car. It's having a strong north wind lift up the slates on the roof and let rainwater pour in through the cracks. It's having the sewer in the street back up and having the utility company say that it's your responsibility while your plumber insists that it's theirs.

Living in France means doing the laundry.

Check out all of my musings on France HERE.

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