|Pray for Us...or for me when I start writing for French newspapers|
When you are sitting in a café at 10:00am in France with your spouse, enjoying a morning espresso, you really shouldn't answer your phone when it rings with a number you don't recognize. It is just so American to be so available all the time. A lot of French people seem to live by a few simple rules:
- Never respond to emails
- If you want to nap, unplug (landline) or turn off your phone
- Ignore voicemails
- Assure people to their face that you will follow up promptly. Then don't.
But, alas, I have that Stars and Stripes gene, so I keep answering calls, responding to electronic mails, and having my coffee time interrupted. It was the agency chief calling with my first assignment.
Before diving into the details of the task, let's take a bird's-eye view of the situation, pretending to be the agency chief (A man I enjoy and like tremendously).
"OK, I have a new local correspondent in Arnay-le-Duc. He has no journalistic experience whatsoever. He is not from the town, the region, or even the country. He is American. Recently, I made him write in French with a pen to see if he could actually string consecutive words together in a grammatically correct fashion. He has no network in the area, no favors to call in, and no track record."