Expat Magazine

Anomalies of French Life: the Garbagemen's Calendar

By Sedulia @Sedulia

EboueursCal EboueursCal_0001

It's freezing in my house right now (the plumbers haven't come back yet to finish the job), and I had just put my warm bathrobe on over my street clothes and sat down to work when I heard a knock at the front door. Thinking A had lost the key, I ran to open it. A large black man in a gray pullover looked me up and down. "You are the mistress of the house?" he said doubtfully. 

"Oui," I said. Across the hall I could see my new British neighbor retreating behind his door, looking puzzled, holding a tiny red card in his hand.

The large man smiled and gave me a card as well. "It's for the garbagemen, madame. The calendar."

Ah! I nodded and went to fetch my wallet.

The yearly étrennes, or tips, for the garbagemen of the city! It is, strictly speaking, completely illegal for a government employee to come and solicit tips in the apartment buildings. But it's an old custom, and the firemen, policemen and garbagemen still do it every year. I must admit the Paris firemen's cheap but large calendar makes a better impression hanging on a wall back in the States, where I usually send it to someone. One thing I have never understood, though, is the purpose of the saints' names on the calendar on the back. Maybe a French person can explain that to me.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Frank Turner, Sam Coffey, and Bad Cop / Bad Cop Takeover Toronto!

    Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls played the middle show of a three-night takeover of The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on Thursday night, and things... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Phjoshua
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Our Favorite TV Shows of All-Time

    Even though we live in Los Angeles where the weather is nice most of the year, during the fall we sometimes just want to stay in, prepare a cup of hot cocoa... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   A Girl In La - Style Blog
    DIARIES, LIFESTYLE
  • Finished Boys Bedroom Makeover: Ethans Blue, White And Red Big Boy Room

    Finished Boys Bedroom Makeover: Ethans Blue, White Room

    Our little boy Ethan's, bedroom makeover is now finished and it feels so good to finally be able to say that! If you've been following our renovation journey,... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Alex_bumptobaby
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • How to Worsen Diabetes: Follow the ADA and CDA Advice

    Worsen Diabetes: Follow Advice

    If you have a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, or have been dealing with the condition for years, where's a natural place you might go for support and... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Safely Stored Away

    Safely Stored Away

    A bit of a panic today when I saw that temperatures might go down to 3C tonight and tomorrow night.  Whilst I had started to move some of my tender plants... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Patientgardener
    GARDENING, HOME
  • 14% of American Adults Have Diabetes According to CDC

    American Adults Have Diabetes According

    A new report, just released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), pegs US diabetes rates, as of 2016, at 14.0% of adults. This includes cases of both... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • 20 Boots & Hearts 2019 Artist Predictions

    Boots Hearts 2019 Artist Predictions

    Every year we look forward to the packed schedule of country music that takes place at Boots Hearts. We also sit and think and guess at who we're going to... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Phjoshua
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION

Magazines