Wednesday, 22 October 2008

How my identity crisis hits French TV

Thanks to all those who are supporting me through this difficult time with my little Leon. I'm happy to report that he is still here and currently sacked out on my lap (which is why I'm not sleeping although I'm exhausted). I want to appreciate every minute with my pooper before the inevitable...but this Franco-american life goes on...

Last weekend, I answered a request from the regional TV station looking for Americans to interview about the upcoming elections. I usually don't do such things as I generally try to avoid being noticed or making a fool out of myself. But I thought for once, I had something interesting to say and could actually bring a positive image of Americans as opposed to the past 8 years of embarrassement and general worldwide abuse the US government has imposed.

So, the interview took place a couple days ago (and will air on Saturday as part of a discussion). The journalist asked lots of loaded questions like what makes you American, how do Americans feel about the French, what is the hardest part of being in France, what are the main differences between the US and France? They also asked me why I was supporting Obama but that's just so obvious.

In fact, these are things I subconciously think about every single day but don't necessarily verbalize them. And let me tell you that verbalizing them is not only difficult but it also gets your mind racing. And you know what it comes down to? Respect for others on the one hand and better quality of life on the other.

To answer the "what's better in the US" question, I brought up my favorite topic: dog shit (and also customer service or lack there of in France). It was laughable, I will admit, but I think the way the French do (or don't) clean up after their dogs is representative of many things like lack of respect for others and the fact that they expect someone esle to clean it up for them. Look at the brigade of motocrotte in every major city out there every day vacuuming up dog excrememnt.

for the "what's better in France" question, I used examples of friends and family. My mom who at 65 wonders if she can retire; my sister who has no health care; my friends who put money away in a college fund for their unborn children; my college education that took 8 years to pay off. All of those worries that weigh heavy in the back of your mind and make the quality of life that much less. The journalist was surprised by my answer and I guess I can see why - what about the American dream?

I also talked about how 911 made me feel isolated. It brought back the feelings of not belonging, no one understanding and really questioning my government for the first time. It made me realize how isolationist and insularthe US really is. Then I thought about Suzanne and how her arrival is what has made me rethink what being American means to me. And, in fact, that it's important. I never rejected it, but didn't embrace it either until she came along.

So thanks to France 3 for helping me work out some issues. And please, please cut out any anti-French bits as promised. I don't want to get pelted with dog shit or anything.


NewWrldYankee said...

How is Leon doing now? I have to say, the way you are dealing with all this is amazing. We are always here to listen.

It is funny, I was thinking of the same things this week. Why is Europe better than America and vice versa. What am I homesick for and what can I recreate. Seems like customer service is at the top of everyone's list. lol No Service with a smile here.

Watch out for dog sh!t on the way home...=)

Reb said...

Leon's doing ok for now. He's almost back to his normal self, but for how long? who knows... we are still waiting for the biospy results to see if/how it can be treated. The sad part is he doesn't sleep with us anymore so I've been going to the couch in the middle of the night to cuddle with him.

I was upset that my dog shit comments didn't make it to the news. they were only interested in my comments on inexpensive education and medical care. Phhh.

misschris said...

Have you read the book "65 Million French People Can't be Wrong." This book is really good at putting the French in perspective for North Americans. I really understood a lot more after reading it, especially the dog poop issue which is more of a local police issue (not enough police jurisdiction or police force in Paris and small towns to enforce fines, etc --a complicated issue the book explains really well). If you get a chance to you should read it. I really learned a lot about things that I'd always questioned.

Sorry to hear about your little kitty :(

Reb said...

Thanks. I have read it and it did help me understand the French a little better...but maybe I should reread it to feel more grounded again.

Elisabeth said...

I would love to see that interview. Are you going to record it when it is broadcast?

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