Monday, January 28, 2008

Faire une promenade par auto

Driving in France is an ordeal. My host Laurent calls it “une sport”- one has to maneuver the vehicle through crowded streets and dodge all sorts of people, vehicles, animals, and other obstacles. The fault does not lie with the French- they do not have bad drivers; they have bad roads! Europe built its roads to carry horses and hansom carriages. Therefore, they are very narrow. In America, when the automobile was developed, city administrators would tear down entire blocks in order to widen the roads. The Europeans, by contrast, threw up their hands and said “Screw it!” They decided to adjust to the cramped conditions. Now, you see countless roads that could only plausibly handle one-way traffic being used to go both ways at once. It’s like watching a psychotic pinball game. Europeans don’t need video games; they have cars.

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