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 :

  • Ryan Navion B

    Ryan Navion

    @ San Carlos, CA May 2018 The Navion four-seat aircraft was originally designed and built by North American Aviation in the 1940s. It was later built by Ryan... Read more

    The 23 June 2018 by   Htam
  • 5 Reasons Most New Venture Creators Need A Co-Founder

    Reasons Most Venture Creators Need Co-Founder

    It seems like every entrepreneur I meet these days is quick to proclaim themselves a visionary, expecting that will give more credibility to their startup... Read more

    The 23 June 2018 by   Martin Zwilling
  • Shakespeare on Tyranny

    Shakespeare Tyranny

    Stephen Greenblatt is a literary critic and historian whose insights into philosophy and the contemporary world are genuinely and consistently profound. Read more

    The 23 June 2018 by   Dlittle30
  • The Prescient Wisdom of Douglas Adams

    Prescient Wisdom Douglas Adams

    The Hitchhiker's Guide and the other four books of the trilogy ( it's complicated) have been a part of my life for almost forty years now, mostly in recordings... Read more

    The 23 June 2018 by   Vickilane
  • Blueberry, Lime & Coconut Friands

    Blueberry, Lime Coconut Friands

    I fell in love with Friands a few years ago when I discovered a fabulous recipe on What Katie Ate. It is the single recipe which inspired me to want to buy her... Read more

    The 23 June 2018 by   Mariealicerayner
  • 5 Refreshing Summer Drinks for Your Children

    Refreshing Summer Drinks Your Children

    Summers are here and so are the scorching heat rays from the sun as well as dry, hot and sweltering weather conditions. This is causing a great deal of havoc... Read more

    The 22 June 2018 by   Travelrasoi
  • Creative Writers to Avoid - The I Can Only Trust You to House My Valuables Scam.

    A few weeks ago, I was blogging about a famous singer. I wasn't careful and Tweeted to a catfish Twitter account. The next day, I had a private message. Read more

    The 22 June 2018 by   Lizmckeown1955