I feel too lazy to post today but thankfully I found a French expression that perfectly sums up my mood: j’ai la flemme.
Seems it’s a common enough condition that there’s a song about it. The tune is almost catchy enough to get my foot tapping into a beat that could even lead me to get up and get going. Almost, but not quite. It’s Sunday after all, and we all deserve a day of rest.
Trying to grasp the origin of this rather intriguing expression has perked up my brain a bit. ‘Avoir la flemme’ comes from the Latin word ‘phlegma’ or flegme in French.
However, what feeling lazy has to do with phlegm, as in mucous, or the quality of being phlegmatic, as the British are known to do while keeping calm and carrying on, has me somewhat perplexed.
I’d like to go further in my exploration of this fascinating topic but la flemme is winning out. Ideas, anyone?
Sundays are sacrosanct in France. Despite the fact that an ever-diminishing number of people attend church, the tradition of Sunday as a day of rest is still going strong.
Shops are closed, although some supermarkets and food shops are open on Sunday mornings until noon. Open-air markets do a booming trade until midday, after which everybody goes for lunch and all business activity ceases. Everyone wishes each other “Bon dimanche!”
In France, Sundays are for leisure pursuits and family. Aside from essential services like transport, police and hospitals, nobody works.
Sunday lunch can be an all-afternoon affair. It often ends in a long, post-prandial walk to aid digestion. Then it’s a light supper and early to bed in anticipation of the new week. Monday, not Sunday, is considered the first day of the week.
I love Sundays because they are different from the rest of the week. My North American, consumer self used to rail against the French refusal to authorize Sunday openings of stores (other than in the pre-Christmas period, when exceptions are allowed). But I’ve finally come around to the French way of thinking. The fact that the tradition is kept up means we get a true day of rest. Even if you spend it working around the house, gardening or going for a long hike, it is a needed break from the regular routine.
This morning the sun is shining, a small plane is droning somewhere overhead and my to-do list is on hold. I will take the time to catch up on my reading, sit outside and have a coffee while the birds chirp. I will enjoy what we call the ‘pause dominical’, the Sunday break.