l'idiot étranger









Tonight I went to a dinner party on the roof of the Petit Ermitage Hotel with some friends and some strangers. Everyone was lovely and everything was going just swelllll. 


Amidst the lace and charm of our getting-to-know-you's I proposed a theory about the cultural reasoning behind why dog shit is so much more prevalent on the streets of Paris as opposed to Belgium, Bern or Berlin, which is a real thingI presumed I could speak freely about these i-m-p-o-r-t-a-n-t matters without debate, yet my argument was wholly rejected by the group, even after quantifying my ideas.


In fact, I was likened to Pilkington, the blue-collar simpleton from The Idiot Abroad whom, to his credit, shares my interest in having "a proper toilet" at my disposal when traveling. (I'd rather hold it in for 8 hours than pee in an airplane bathroom, for example). Anyhow, here is my grandiose theory about the exorbitant amount of dog shit on the streets of Paris:


Language influences culture and thus (somewhat) determines respective levels of obedience toward society. For instance, I had a neighbor in college who spoke seven languages fluently and translated foreign films for movie studios. She was also a dog trainer to the stars (!!). She told me the most effective language in which to train a dog is German. The least effective? FRENCH. Shocker. I'm pretty sure that the same way language effects animals applies to humans as well. Moving along.


French is obviously a gorgeous language that lends itself to flowery tales, but do you really ever flinch when a French person is angry at you? Of course not. How can you fear people whose arguments sound like they are pontificating over the best way to sous-vide duck? These people are storytellers and aesthetes who prioritize annual month-long vacations, not cleaning up their pets' poops for the betterment of others. 


Ask me about the correlation between sociolinguistics and the per capita amount of dog shit in Paris some day and I'll break it down even more. Good times.