Don't lose your head, or your temper(ature).

Home sweet Lab.

We had some friends from France at home this week-end. It was interesting to see how my fellow-citizens evolved in a British house. As a matter of fact I start to get used to my new environment and new laboratory rats were welcome. I watched them carefully. I looked at them engaging their feet in the same paths I walked through earlier, facing the same questions or astonishment... It was rejuvenating and rich in new learnings.

A window to our past.

If you are a regular reader you might think I am some kind of a window-fetishist, but trust me, I am not. You must nevertheless acknowledge that they do play an important role in our houses. And to be totally transparent... they are interesting.

For instance, British homes enjoy numerous
sash windows, this typical two-panel frame that you only see on this side of the Channel. They are typical and they are practical. But it is intriguing to see how the French cope with them.

We slide them up. Close them down. And finally stare at them with dubious looks. As a Latin people we enjoy appearing at our window and look at the outside life. But amazing enough, we tend to avoid this habit in England and so were our friends this Sunday. Why? We seem not to trust the way sash windows hang on their own, waiting for someone to get his neck through to finally fall... It is probably part of our collective unconscious, subtly referring to our "glorious" past of beheaders.

Binary decision in front of a mirror.

Talking about (headless) kings... the other puzzling element of the British homes happens to locate in the Throne Room. When facing the sink to wash my hands, I feel the urgent need to curse this country. And by the blasphemy I heard through the door, my opinion is shared by some of my fellow-citizens.

Most sinks actually feature two taps: one for cold water, one for hot water. That leaves you the choice between burning your hands or freezing them... How come this country has not adopted mixing taps by now? Why cannot we enjoy mild temperatures on our skin?

The heat of love.

I know that French language and culture cultivates nuances, and I expected the Brits to do so. In a sense, their plumbing system reminds me the way Germans tackle love. And I am not referring to some debatable metaphor for pipes and holes…

When we pull out the petals of a daisy, we accompany each leaf with a litany that translates into: "she likes me, fancies me, loves me, is passionate about me, is crazy about me, she isn't, she likes me...". Hence covering the entire spectrum of love. On the other hand Germans approach love in a binary way, and sing: "Sie lieb mich, sie lieb mich nicht, sie lieb mich..." ("She loves me, she doesn't, she loves me...").

Water and love are the like... You have to choose the exact degree to fully enjoy it. Maybe this is a tip to understand why French are said to be great lovers. Using the right word, the right nuance can make your partner lose her head. And trust me no sash window is needed to achieve this.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely agree with you!!!
    that's what happened to me along the first month in UK! But rather than feel the need to curse I just did it everytime I faced the sink.
    Strange people the british..