Driving though France, somewhere near Lyon, was hungry, stopped in
a village that had the appearance of hating intruders. Spare streets light
I saw a café, entered, but it was full of surly people drinking wine rough.
I drove further, miserable forbidding dark streets that had a Gallic shrug.
Came to a pizza cafe, where a man, not happy to be disturbed as he was
watching TV. I had a pizza, it was sloppy and lukewarm. I asked for wine,
no, he only served soft drinks; so I had a tepid cola. Enemy territory, not
the happy accordion playing rural France depicted in holiday brochures.
I asked the pizza seller where I could find an inn, he didn’t know.
Told him, in English, which he didn’t understand, that he ought to meet
soap and water and change his shirt. Drove through the night hoped to
reach Spain at dawn; leave the murky underbelly of France behind me.
The Spanish too are expert at being rude, but are impolite with a sunny
smile in their sardonic faces.