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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Scenes of Toulouse, part 3

Coming from the east cost, I appreciate when people are frank with me.  Taken as a whole, the people of France seem to appreciate frankness as well.  In most cases, they don't hesitate to let you know when you're doing something "incorrect."

The other day, as I sat in the passenger seat of a rental car which my husband was piloting, the topic of "right on red" came up.  Neither my husband nor I are entirely familiar with all of the traffic rules in France, having just arrived several months ago, and not owning a car ourselves.  In the suburbs where we both grew up, slow-rolling right turns at red lights are common.  In the heart of the city of Philadelphia, however, they are illegal.  My husband added that a fancy suburb he lived in for a time had also made right turns on red illegal.  We wondered aloud how a visitor would fare, trying to navigate the roads with rules that constantly changed. 

I was feeling particularly irritable because of the blistering city heat, my aching lower back and wandering around an IKEA all day, looking for baby furniture and "organization solutions."  We had rented a car specifically to cart our modern Swedish bounty home.  I grumbled, "What if you were a black family moving to that fancy suburb?  You make one right on red, thinking you are perfectly in the right, and BAM! you could land in so much trouble..."

With only a few turns remaining before we would arrive at the rental car parking lot, David pulled up to a red light, and put on his right indicator.  This time, uncharacteristically, he didn't take the turn on red as we both sat in silence and  wondered whether we had ever made any obvious traffic mistakes.  As if in answer, the driver of the car behind us tapped out a short, dry hoot on his horn.

Now we know.  Thanks, France.
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