Today the weather is good, sunshine and the village cafe is open, with tables and chairs on the terrace.
It’s 18.00hrs and Pierre has just finished work. He decides to have some time off with a drink in the café.
As he takes a chair at an empty table, he greets the other people he knows with a handshake, with a soft voice he asks the barman for a “demi”, a 1/2 pint glass of beer.
The waiter serves the beer to Gilbert, who lays back in the chair and sips his drink, watching the cars and people walk by. A few metres away he notices an old friend heading towards him and shouts out “Salut Pierre, tu prendre un verre avec moi” (Hi Pierre, have a glass with me).
Pierre replies “Bonjour Gilbert, comment va tu ?” (Good-day Gilbert, how are you ?)
“Ca va merci. Qu’est que tu veut boire ?” (Fine thanks. What would you like to drink ?)
“Un Pastis s’il te plait” (A Pastis please [Aniseed aperitif])
The waiter serves the drink and the two men talk about day to day life.
“La famille va bien ?” (Is the family ok ?)
Pierre explains that his eldest son will soon be taking his Baccalaureate exams, but doesn’t seem to be revising enough. His wife has finally found a part-time job in a nearby supermarket. She will be working 20 hours a week with the SMIC (minimum legal salary ) of 9Euros per hour.
Gilbert begins to moan about the current high price of petrol, now at 1.32Euro, when it was only at 1.14 in January. He is worried because at the end of every month he is obliged to take money from his “Livret A” (Savings account) to pay all the bills.
Gilbert earns 2000Euro per month plus commissions on sales, but the current economy has reduced the spending of his clients so his salary is much less than 2 years ago. “Travailler plus pour gagner plus” (work more and earn more), he shouts aloud. “That’s what the president promised us, but I’m working much more and earning a lot less !”
Pierre says “Et oui, les temps sont durs” (Ah yes, times are hard).
Pierre tries to change the subject and ask “Tu a des projets pour les vacances d’été ?” (Do you have projects for the summer holidays ?)
“Oui, la Vendée, chez mes amis”, (Yes, the Vendee, by my friends).
“j’aime beaucoup la région, le soleil, la mer et les gens sont sympas”. (I love the region, the sun, the sea and the people are friendly).
Gilbert ask if Pierre will watch the “La Coupe du Monde” ( the world cup).
“Oui un peut, mais on a aucune chance”. (Yes a bit, but we have no chance).
This is typical French pessimism. Et c’est comme ça ici