Monday, May 12, 2008

Lyon, Coke, and Keith Haring.

This past Friday, my tutor and I spent the day in Lyon in order to enjoy a temporary art exhibition of Keith Haring's work. It was also a day for me to practice my French. It was a great day and I was exhausted by the end.

We lunched at a bouchon that I've been to a few times and knew that the main dude who works there is not the friendliest of the bunch. We sit down and order drinks. I ask for a Coca Light (also known as Diet Coke to Americans). The dude tells me that the place is not a pharmacy and that they don't have Coca Light and only Coke. "Really?", I asked. "Yes.", he responded. I didn't understand why a restaurant/bar would serve one but not the other. I told him that I don't like regular Coke very much because it's too sweet for me. Than he tells me how disgusting Coke/Coca Light is. Wonderful. And also throws in that Americans are great at telling the difference between Coke and Coca Light but not at telling the difference between French wines. Now, I knew he was joking around with me and I was going along with it, but what if he was bantering with someone who didn't understand him and couldn't read his "humor" very well? Would one see him as being rude? My tutor and I discussed this for a bit because I said that if I didn't understand French, I would think he was being rude for making fun of Americans.

During the meal, he ended up bringing me that Coca Light even though I finally said (while we were ordering) that I'll just have water. After all that, he charged me for it too. I suppose that surprised me because he was such a pain in the arse about it all and then ends up bringing it to me and expecting me to pay. Should I expect differently in France?


Aberdonian said...

I'm French and I find that pretty rude!

How is the Keith Haring exhibition? I'd like to see it but don't know if I'll have the time before it ends.

misschris said...

Lyon is a great town!

Too bad about your mean guy. It always bugs me to be mistaken for a tourist and to get the jibing (or meanness) that sometimes goes with it. On the other hand I have learned to make jibes too and have some good comebacks for people like that.