Somehow – like shit.
Yet, the Parisian rarely holds anyone responsible for not being from Paris. Though he will surely believe that the root of any mistake the non-Parisian makes is to be found in his origins.This tendency is particularly true for any interaction that implicates an automobile.
The moment a non-Parisian sits in a car, he becomes the last two digits of his licence plate. Immediately. He becomes “un 78”, “le 42”, or “un 29” …The last two digits of a French licence plate correspond to that of the département of registration of the car. Paris is 75. Other numbers smell like mud or depression.
Numbers that smell like mud are plentiful. These are the rare numbers. The ones you hardly ever see on the streets of Paris. Those 07, 86, 41, 23, 53… Mud somewhat recalls the Parisian of some remote vacation spot. Mud is not always bad. Le 07 for instance will take too much time on the road, he will hesitate, he will let pedestrians cross the street. He is obviously un paysan. But the Parisian has a certain affection for him. So he shall be merciful. Lenient. That is how people of the city should be, really.
Numbers that smell like depression are all the other ones. Areas supposedly colder or less sunny than Paris, obviously. But more commonly: la banlieue. Anyone walking the streets of Paris should know that les 77, les 78, les 91, les 92, les 93 and les 94 are from la banlieue. Which implies that they have limited self esteem, minimal respect of others and an awful dose of rawness to them. These people are a direct threat on the road. Out of la banlieue numbers, two rank higher up in the Parisian’s hierarchy of numbers: 78 and 92. These two départements include very fancy towns and expensive neighbourhoods. Less shameful.
Traffic in Paris seems hectic to the occasional visitor. Yet it does follow very simple rules.
Rule number one: pedestrians do not exist.
Rule number two: congestions are always caused by mud numbers. “C’est ce con de 27 qui bloque tout le monde depuis deux heures”.
Rule number three: any outrageous driving is always caused by depression numbers: “Mais il est complètement con le 94, il va tuer quelqu’un”.
Ultimately, knowing about the origin of a fellow driver helps the Parisian anticipate the flaws of his diving style. He therefore constantly bears in mind that he shall only be safe surrounded with 75′s. Thus making Paris the only place on Earth where people act on the road exactly as they do off of it.
Useful tip: Learn your départements.
Sound like a Parisian: « Non, mais c’est ce con de [number] qui fait chier son monde…»