Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Nice Side of French Motorists

Something I saw that really opened up the way I thought about French motorists, in Paris particularly. Of course this could happen often but from a Singaporean's point of view it only happened once in the four other trips I've been in Parisian traffic.

Traffic was heavy as usual, and a biker in front of our mini scooter had pulled on his breaks while turning. This obviously caused his bike to go out of control and he skidded to the side, just right in front of us. We were a little surprised at first and were frozen for a while; our minds had gone blank. Then almost simultaneously, without speaking, I got ready to get off the scooter while Julien tilted it to the side so I could slide off it. Yes, he has to tilt the scooter because my short asian legs cannot reach the gravel otherwise. We were going to help him up.

Before my foot even touched the ground, there were already three other motorists who had ran out from no where (like in Indian movies) to the scene, helping to lift up the bike and pull the very embarrassed man up from the ground. Ca va? Ca va? They kept asking him if he was okay. "Ca va, ca va, ca va", was all he could reply. Then, as though this all happened in a dream, the green light came on, and the three men disappeared into the traffic, while the motorists who had fell earlier rode off into the dust.

This nice-ness lasted about, oh, 10 seconds before the war between car drivers and motorists resumed as they attemptted to cut through each other's lane at the turn about, and hurl traffic "greetings" to each other over the already defeaning noise of about 10,000 engines running at the same time, which of course I will not translate here. =)

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