Tales from
the Loir

A Weekly Column

November 6, 2002 - Impressions of America

Some people think the brain works like a camera taking photographs and storing images but in reality the mind works by recording changes. So when I come back to America after a year in France, I notice the things that are different from the European environment.

"Big" is the word that first comes to mind. The people are big. The cars are big. The roads are big. Everything is big, jumbo or super sized. Soccer moms drive their kids around in Humvee size trucks that dwarf my aunt's old Cadillac. People drive much slower in America but the size of the vehicles makes up for the lack of velocity. The death rate on American highways is almost twice as high as in France. This is a remarkable statistic because the French are more aggressive and drive much faster than Americans.

There is also a difference of style. In America, men wearing jeans lay back on their Harley Davidsons like they are watching television in a recliner and they cruise at the speed limit. In France, the outside lane is always reserved for young men in tight leather protective gear bent forward to break the wind as they approach the 200 MPH limit of their machines.

Despite the difference of speed on the highway, it is the Americans who are in a hurry. They never relax and there is a palpable energy here that makes this country so productive. There is always a sense of urgency and tension that seems to drive America. Last week I was sitting at a table for six hours going through the multiple courses of a traditional French meal. This week in the States everyone is getting up to leave the dinner table after finishing one huge plate of food in 30 minutes. Everyone is in a hurry to finish and move on to the next project. It is hard not to get caught up in this energy.

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October 9, 2002 - William of Orange

October 2, 2002 - Catacombs of Paris

September 25, 2002 - Suburbs of Paris
September 18, 2002 - Saint James

September 11, 2002 - Le Chemin de Saint Jacques de Compostelle

July 10, 2002 - Flintstones, meet the Flintstones

July 3, 2002 - Bugs

June 26, 2002 - Summer

June 19, 2002 - French Property News

June 5, 2002 - Emmanuel de Broglie

April 24, 2002 - Election Day in Saint Rimay

April 17, 2002 -Surprise Review

April 3, 2002 - Spring in Lavardin
March 20, 2002 - Guest Columnist /Furman Magazine/ John Roberts
March 13, 2002 - Tête de Veau
March 6, 2002 - Table Etiquette
February 27, 2002 - A Country Boy Can Survive
February 20, 2002 - Driving in France
February 13, 2002 - The Circus
February 6, 2002 - History of France
January 30, 2002 - THE BEST I EVER HAD
January 23, 2002 - Miranda This
January 16, 2002 - Charlotte Observer Interview
January 9, 2002 - Walnut Wine
January 2, 2002 - Sloe Gin
December 26, 2001 - Winter Solstice
Archive of Weekly Columns from 2001
Archive of Weekly Columns from 2000


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