Several times I've heard American friends complain about how when they go to a restaurant, they're stuck in a corner with the other Americans in "the bad room". I've had it happen to me too, but I've learned that it's not really hostility at all, it's the restaurant trying to make me comfortable.

Foremost, the non-smoking room is often the American room. French people don't seem to ask for l'espace non-fumeur very often, so the folks who want to eat their meal without smelling noxious smoke often end up being Americans. And secondarily, good restaurants often have one waiter who speaks the best English; you'll be assigned to his room as a matter of course. No insult intended, they're just trying to make you (and themselves) happy.

So go with it. And when the table next to you starts bleating loudly about their diets and stock portfolios, enjoy the pleasure that they can overhear you commenting nastily about them.

  2006-10-23 18:38 Z