Saturday, December 6, 2008

Just a minute!

In America we say things like, "Just a minute" or "Hold on a second" or "See you in a sec". In the last example it's apparent that we are so busy and things are moving so quickly in the States that we don't even have time to finish the word second, we shorten it to sec.

Instead of one second or even one minute the French use two minutes. They say things like, "Je reviens dans deux minutes ~ I'll be back in two minutes" or "Ça prend deux minutes pour y aller ~ it takes two minutes to get there" or "La table sera prête dans deux minutes ~ your table will be ready in two minutes". While two minutes may still be a gross underestimation and it may actually take five minutes to get where you are going, it is slightly more realistic than a sec.

The difference in word-choice boils down to more than who is better at guessing how long it takes to do things. More importantly it illustrates the sense of time in France. Everything takes longer here than it does in America. Allow me to point out that two minutes is 120 times longer than a second. Don't even get me started on how much longer it is than a sec.

Based on my experience thus far, things in France take approximately 120 times longer than I want them to. Getting your bill at a restaurant for example, takes forever. Waiting for your internet connection to be set up takes up to 10 weeks, an eternity in my opinion. Trying something on at H&M can take the majority of an afternoon. Obtaining a legal immigration status in France has taken seven months and counting.

Transitioning from a life in Seattle to a life in Paris requires a serious increase in patience. Rushing the post office employee or your hair dresser can result in disaster. The only thing a busy bee American girl can do is surrender and accept life at a slower pace. I am trying. Really I am.

Ommmmm. Ommmm. Namasté.


McKaulick said...

Why to you greet your blog audience with namasté at the very end of the post?

Well, namasté to you then!

Nica said...

i know where your problem is- you forgot to add the 9 hour time difference and then account for the currency exchange rate: now 2 minutes in france is 120 seconds + 9 hours * 1.265= 6 days-ish. note this is always changing since the exchange rates fluctuate daily!