I need to buy some new shoelaces. I asked the clerk at the Thionville hotel if he knew of any place close by.  He was getting off and offered to walk me over to a place that might sell laces.  They didn’t have laces for boots but on the way we had an interesting discussion. I’m not sure how we got on this subject but he told about an incident that highlighted the difference between North Americans and Europeans.

One summer, a Canadian woman, a guest at the hotel, had seen a car parked just outside with a dog locked in.  The windows were rolled all the way up.  She was very irate and wanted the hotel to find the owner or call the cops.  The clerk thought she was overreacting. He said that he told her that the car was not in direct sunlight. He was sure the owner didn’t want to harm his dog and would probably be back soon.  He thought her fears about the dog being in danger were overblown and he also blamed the media.  I sided with the Canadian woman.  And I know in Houston, direct sunlight or not, someone would be breaking a window. 

Later that same evening I was eating dinner at a sidewalk restaurant.  A young (30s) French couple sat at a nearby table.  The woman was pregnant. I noticed that she was holding something in her fingers.  A pen?  She lit it.  She was smoking. I was shocked.  In this day and age with everything we know about smoking . . .

I took a picture and got ready to tweet it with a snarky comment. But then I wondered.  Which was worse?  Her smoking while pregnant or me invading her privacy?  I decided not to post the pic. I also chose not to say anything. Nor did anyone else. I thought that the waitress might but she didn’t either. I think in the U.S. or at least in Houston people would have said something. 

Incidentally, the husband or boyfriend never smoked. So, the kid’s got that going for him. No danger of second hand smoke. 


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