Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quelque Chose est Différente Ici

It is healthy to periodically have your perspective altered as mine has been for the past few days here in France. When I go to sign on to this blog for example, I am asked for my "Adresse électronique" and my "Mot de passe" and depending upon whose computer I'm using I may find myself reminding my fingers that the "z" is not where I think it should be. Along with many other keys. It's not a QWERTY keyboard. Have you assumed that QWERTY is universal? Nope, it's not.

I checked out a definition on Wiktionnaire and then logged in to Facebook. "Bienvenue sur Facebook. Connectez-vous inscrive-vous ou décrouve!" Connect, write, or discover! 

Another meaning for découvrir is "to take the lid off". Now that makes me think of food. Pas problèm, as so much of it is so good here. Pqss the pqstries: qnd the cheese:  I wonder if the people at Facebook were trying some subtle way to appeal to the French palate. Not that Facebook is known for subtlety.

A French relative once told me that the best cheese is the most odiferous cheese; the way to identify the best cheeses, he said, were to sit them out and wait for a passing fly. If the fly passes above the cheese and drops dead the cheese is first rate. Yum. We immediately went cheese hunting.

A few days ago someone asked me to look over a document written in English and edit it for the grammar. They handed me a flash drive. Not any ordinary flash drive - not a bit of plastic in it. It is made of wood and remains closed by virtue of a magnet. Talk about ecologically ingenious. I've got to hand it to whoever created this device because I'd love to see us reduce the amount of environmentally toxic plastic used in our computing systems.

Electronic devices are some of the worst plastic offenders. This little flash drive is a reminder that there are alternatives to our near complete dependence on plastic if only we get creative in our thinking. Maybe a laptop made of wood isn't the solution (might it catch on fire when the drive heats up?) but surely there is something we can do about all that plastic.

You know what I haven't seen here in Paris? iPods. I can't recall having seen more than one or two people in Paris with those dangling ear cords. Smartphones are everywhere, everyone seems to have one, but there are signs in many places asking people not to use their phones and people respond by not using their phones! I think it's great. People aren't absorbed in their own isolated electronic worlds the way they often are in the US. They talk to in person to one another, to their children, to their friends. 

Bonne journée

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