So I’m sitting at my computer when the doorbell rings. To my surprise, when I open the door, there is a gendarme standing there. They are a different class than policemen, actually, trained to do all sorts of things mainly in the countryside and are under the military department. They investigate crimes like the police and help with saftey matters. However, my heart beat sped up and I wondered what either Maurice or I had done wrong just like when you see a police car behind you in your rear view mirror, even though you aren’t speeding-or at least, not at the moment.
This isn’t actually a statue of a gendarme, it is de Gaulle, but their hats are rather like that.
So, how did this gendarme end up at our door? It goes back a couple of months ago when we received a speeding ticket in the mail from one of those camera devices that track speeding cars as they pass by. In fact, there is a sign right before the speed detector telling you that it is there but we, that is, Maurice, have gotten two tickets there. Maurice asked me if I would take the blame for the second ticket. I have a Texas driver’s license and an International one. I agreed so Maurice sent a check in to cover the cost along with information on me. We got the check returned to us because it didn’t agree with their records and that was when the gendarme showed up. I almost expected him to cuff me but instead we had to go to the office in a nearby town the next day where he filled out reams of papers, zeroxed my driver’s licenses and then Maurice had to write another check. I was told that I needed to get a French driver’s license if I was here in France for more than 6 months in a row. I am here more than that but in order not to have to take, and pay for, the dreaded French driving test, I may stay in the States for six months. Really. I’m too old to go through that trauma. Maurice’s niece told me that I could buy one in Paris for 1000 Euros or so. I don’t think so.