Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Pretentious? The French?

Yesterday I had the exciting experience of paying a visit to the Médecin de Travail to get a certificate saying that I was fit for work. Expecting her to ask me to strip to my underwear as soon as I entered the consulting room, I dashed home from work to change into a slightly less greying bra and a pair of matching socks before power walking up the hill to the clinic, which turned out to be a waste of time because my appointment started 15 minutes late and she only asked me to take my jumper off.

I was mildly interested to learn that I was one centimetre taller than I thought I was but the best bit was definitely the eye test. After reading a series of letters (and desperately trying not to mix up the French, German and Italian alphabets) I was given a passage in very small print to read. The doctor allowed me to stop when I stumbled on the word “vicissitudes.” (I'm not sure I can even pronounce that word in English.) I glanced at the name at the end of the passage. It was from Diderot, a French Enlightenment philosopher and writer who lived from 1713 – 1784.

In France, you are never safe from people trying to educate you.


  1. Sounds difficult! When I went for a medical they had some crazy machine where you just push the buttons when it asks you what you see.... I have no idea what my results were; just some mumble from the lady that I could see well enough to work.

  2. Stumbled upon your blog and this post jumped out at me for some reason....I LOVE this anecdote! Diderot at the eye doctor...only in France.