Saturday, 26 March 2011


Since I'm about to leave Nice I've decided that some Nice Etoile awards are in order.  After all, the Nicois have worked tirelessly - often throughout the night - to ensure I have a plethora of material for this blog, so it's the least I can do for them.

Saturday 26th March


I've just spent half an hour queuing to pay in Monoprix's classy(ish) alimentation section.  (Monoprix is a department store). The queue I chose was, naturally, the slowest, it being populated (it turned out) by 10 people in front of me who each wanted to pay for their groceries in single centimes.

There are a few large-screen TVs hanging from the ceiling in the checkout area in an effort to distract customers from the fact that they are waiting in line for months; should you enter the store some time in March, by the time you manage to leave, the Christmas merchandise is on the shelves. And so I could check my horoscope, the weather, the best of the store's offers, along with my horoscope, the weather, the best of the store's offers, and also my horoscope, the weather, the best of the store's offers...

Anyway, somehow today (it's November 8th, right???) I found myself at the front of the line.  The cashier gave me a big smile, her right hand poised over my eggs - which I'm sure will be fine once I get to cook them; it's well known they last at least 17 years after being laid - when a woman approached her from the back holding up a couple of tiny baby outfits, and whispered something into her ear. I didn't catch what was going on, but it became apparent when the woman came around to where I was standing that she was very heavily pregnant and was being allowed to pay for her items next. It's store policy.  

OK, not arguing with that, I really had no desire to deliver a baby this afternoon.  Or any afternoon, come to think of it.  Been there, done that - or rather had someone else to do it for me whilst I lay back and thought of how much I could expect from the forthcoming divorce settlement.  

However, concentrate, here comes the science bit.

For her husband (or someone else's husband; who knows, they were French) also suddenly appeared with a basket load of some 35 other items.  He was not pregnant.  He (sheepishly) took the articles out and placed them on the conveyor belt, being very careful not to look at me or any of the other customers whose position he had usurped. I would go so far to say that he emitted a rather hostile air, too.

I looked at them both. They didn't look at me.  They took ages to find their loyalty card, and ages to pay. Finally they thanked the cashier and waddled away.

I know how uncomfortable standing around is whilst heavily pregnant. (Somewhat less uncomfortable than being in a Monoprix queue, I seem to recall).  But in the same position as them I would have taken care to thank the other customers I had displaced for yet another five minutes.  And in the circumstances, I don't think I would have been that bothered about my sodding loyalty card, either.

Never mind.  I'm sure her labour won't be that painful with the amount of chutzpah she and her partner have at their disposal - and oh, I've just remembered I have a lovely big bag to accommodate a couple of cushions that might come shopping with me the next time I'm thinking of venturing into Monoprix.




Having (finally) emerged with my spoils (I always thought the London Underground operated on its own space/time continuum, didn't realize shops had that option as well), I started to walk home.  This involves negotiating a few busy roads running off Nice's main shopping thoroughfare.

I was about to leap off one particular sidewalk when a motorbike drove up to the guy standing on my right hand side, positioning himself directly in front of him.  There was a bit of a standoff, until the cyclist said Excusez moi, s'il vous plait! in a tone which smacked of do I REALLY have to say this after all this time???

The pedestrian stepped aside, thus allowing the motorcyclist to take his rightful place and drive along the extremely busy sidewalk, where God and President Sarkozy (keep getting them mixed up - is God the taller one?) mean him to be.

Mind you, that was the most polite phrase I've heard for weeks.

Perhaps he wasn't French after all.


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Please be nice, but not funnier than me. Thanks.