I really have great co-workers in general though. L’américaine provided work transportation most days, took me to pick up groceries and out to a few social activities. PB provided the rest of my work transportation, plus took me for groceries & to the pharmacy; YV drove me to the doctor; SB called the doctor and nurses several times because the secretaries often don't speak English (even if the doctors or nurses do) and CB would have taken me to work every day this week, but my knee was finally healed enough to drive short distances!
And Alexis remains a great (and reliable) friend - I'm lucky to have met him.
Q&A on French Drinking
Since life with a knee injury hasn't been very exciting, I thought I'd post another Q&A. I've been asked by several people if the French drink "all of the time" or a lot more than Americans.
The best I can say about total consumption is that I read something somewhere (really precise, right?) that said the French drink about the same amount as Americans, but spread out through the whole week, whereas Americans tend to drink their full consumption as "binge drinking" on Friday and Saturday night.
And again, when there aren't particular photos, you get examples of great French food. Note: there technically *is* wine in the upper right corner.
From personal experience, here are the main differences that I've noticed:
- It is not a big deal to drink during lunch on a workday. Most tables seem to have a bottle to share (4+ people) or a glass each. My company seems to be a little more conservative, so the managers who eat out for lunch typically only drink on Fridays. L’américaine and I have adopted this habit and we have a pineau per week on "fancy lunch" Fridays.
- It is nearly impossible to discipline or fire somebody for drinking, unless they are injured on the job or there is some other major incident that can be attributed to their drinking. You can (and possibly will) have at least one co-worker who smells like they bathed in a bottle of booze, but if they're a functional alcoholic, nothing can be done about it.
- Most of the French I know do not drink every day. If they do, it is a glass of wine with lunch or dinner. The only time I've seen them have multiple drinks in one sitting is at a nice dinner out (pre-dinner cocktail, wine with the starter and wine with the meal usually) or a nice dinner at home with friends (same 2-3 drinks).
- Beer seems to be consumed only on rare occasions and not often with a meal, usually it's a pre-dinner drink or completely separate from eating.
- Hard liquor is also consumed much less than in the US. Most of the stronger alcohol is consumed as a pre- or post-dinner drink, one small serving only and not as a mixed drink. It is something like a pineau (local specialty), cognac or a good whiskey. I don't recall seeing a French person have a mixed drink the entire time that I've been here (this is not to say that they don't drink them, just that it is uncommon in my experience).
- The French seem to be very conscientious about drinking and driving. Too many people joke about it in the US and don't seem to take it seriously (unless they get caught). Here, my French friends and colleagues very clearly drink less when they are the driver than if they are at home or not driving.