Saint Tropez – I was there earlier this week
Where do I belong? I am not sure. Let me explain. I tried to apply British rules in St Tropez and it simply didn’t work. Silly old me.
The municipal parking lot was full and I needed to leave the car for an important business meeting. I couldn’t believe it, but there was no space. Absolutely none. Cars were parked everywhere, on bus stops, on pathways, on jetties, really everywhere you could think of. I spotted a space. It wasn’t 100% clean: it was half-zebra, half legit, but at least I wouldn’t be obstructing anyone. I didn’t have much of a choice, and I decided to take it. I had managed to park the car but, if this were in London, it would be clamped in a jiffy, not to mention the fact that it would cost me around £300 to get my vehicle back. But this wasn’t London, I thought to myself. I will be fine here. Just fine.
I immediately had second thoughts and my mind started racing: what if they clamp my car? On top of a (cheaper, but still hefty) fine, I will have to get the car back tomorrow and I might miss my flight back. Not an option. My British side took over and I started to panic. I spotted a policeman nearby and asked for some advice to see whether there was a risk they would take my car. He explained that they had already taken one car earlier that day. This sounded quite promising, as there were hundreds of cars parked illegally and if only one had been taken the law of probabilities was clearly on my side. That said, you never know. Probabilities can be deceptive sometimes. I was still feeling unsure about my parking space. I took the policeman to the rental car with me -somehow I convinced him to come with me. He saw I was worried and told me that he would tell his colleagues not to clamp it. I could go with complete peace of mind. And off I went, reassured.
When I came back I didn’t have a parking ticket and the car was still there. Another policeman saw me start the ignition and said ‘goodbye’. I waived back and said thank you while leaving. How cool was this? I still can’t believe it.
Suffice to say, things are slightly different in London. A friend of mine didn’t find her car yesterday evening because a parking suspension had popped out of the blue and her car had been taken. She now has to pay a hefty amount to get it back. She will challenge the fine but it might take some time. In London, you cannot make any arrangements with parking attendants. It is not even worth trying. And the rules are very, very complicated. Nobody really understands them.
So why was I so worried in St Tropez? What went into me? Why can’t I just relax and ‘get’ the local rules more easily, especially in my home country? There must be something wrong with me! I don’t know where I belong any more. How do you ‘get’ the rules?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
For the last four months, I haven’t had a minute to myself. Everything I have been doing served a purpose such as: doing the school run, the laundry, shopping for grocery, moving house, working for someone else, and so on, and so forth. I had to organise weeks in advance any outing with friends (it is like, days of preparation for a couple of hours of relative relaxation -because I keep wondering whether the kids are OK). Come to think about it, this blog is written when I wait for something, or for someone. It can be a delivery, a phone call, or simply for the kids to finish school. I think that I am on the verge of forgetting who I am. I don’t exist anymore. I am a woman who waits.
Well, in pure French style, I am going to St Tropez for a couple of days. On my own. For my business of course. I am freaking out because I don’t know in which state I will find the house when I get back. Hubby will have to manage, and he barely knows what the kids have for breakfast. I will also have to drive in my home country, which I dread because it looks like everybody on the motorway thinks the speed limit is, in fact the minimal speed. But, for once, I will be in charge of me -and just me. And people will wait for me -not the other way around…How refreshing! It is so unusual that I am almost scared.
My British friends don’t understand me. For some reason in London a mum never leaves her family. They are in charge all the time, no exception. Being a mum is a 24/7 job over here. My French friends don’t understand what the fuss is all about. A woman has to have some me-time from time to time, that’s simply a given. A friend of mine, a mum of three little ones, even went to China for three weeks (for her job) and nobody said anything. I don’t know where I belong any more.
So here I am, on the road again, trying to be a business woman again and feeling slightly out of place. Wish me luck!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London