We have a new recruit at work today and I already feel bad for her.
I walked in at 9.30 (ok 9.45) and there she was at the front desk. We'll call her Charlotte for the purposes of this blog. I shake her hand and say hello, let her know that I am just upstairs if she has any questions. She thanks me and as I walk up to my desk she chipperly says, "I need supportive people today!" To which I reply, "I completely understand, don't hesitate."'
So we are off to a good start, her and I.
Then she comes upstairs to ask the accountant a question about mail. The mail question is asked and answered and then she offers to take the mail to the post for the accountant once she figures out where the post office is in Cannes. I realize that she is not from here and ask where, in fact, she lives. "Grasse," she says, "in a little piece of paradise! My house has exposed stones and 5 hectares of land! You couldn't pay me to move!"
Now, that's a lot of information when you consider the simple question I asked. But...all the same, I think she is nice, maybe a bit too nice, but still, she's trying and she's new. She must be nervous, I think to myself.
I go to lunch with my French female colleagues and before we can even get five minutes down the street the s**t talking begins. She is too mieleuses they say! She is syrupy sweet! It's only the first day - when is this going to stop?! I try to explain that she is probably nervous and that she will calm down and be normal soon but they think she has crossed the line of nice-ness. "You can't just be nice like that on the first day!" they say. "It's indiscreet and rude!" they hollar. "She even complimented me on my new top!" says one of them.
I really try to explain that I think she is just trying to find her place and that her nervousness has manifested itself into an overly perky person where dog poop turns to rainbows in the blink of an eye, but they don't believe me. They think I'm standing up for her and that I'm on her side. Which I kind of am since the French aren't the most welcoming bunch on the block.
I agree that she could take it down about five notches, but c'mon!
Poor Charlotte. Chastised for her niceness. Only in France my friends, only in France.