Tuesday, November 14, 2006


One side-effect of my mum's illness is that she has amassed a gigantic hoard of exotic medicaments, with names that sound like Doctor Who villains. The other morning I'm sure I caught ZOPHREN planning an intergalactic electromagnetic assault on SPASFON.

Needless to say, mum and I are both quite confused about what she's supposed to be taking and what she isn't. Which is how this conversation ensued yesterday with the doctor (not *that* doctor):

Mum: I'm worried about all these medicines, I don't know what I'm supposed to be taking.

Doctor: Well, now, ah, you see, I'm a Cartesian.

Me: Ah yes, Cartesian dualism.

Doctor: Oh, you studied philosophy?

Me: A bit.

Doctor: All French people are Cartesians; it's in our nature.

Mum: Cartesians?

Me: He believes in the separateness of the mind and the body.

Mum: Right, well, what does that have to do with anything?

Doctor: I don't make a note of anything, you see.

Me: It seems to mean he doesn't believe in keeping medical records.

Mum: Right. So which of these medicines am I supposed to be taking?

Doctor: Buggered if I know.

In other news, no lesbians with interstellar arrays have turned up yet, but I did see a dead snake.


Lyn said...

That's astonishing. You are amazing in your patience. Many and warmest regards in the multi tasking and keeping sane(or not)

BiB said...

I had a French boyfriend once for about 20 seconds and he managed at least 40 references to being cartésien in that time. Which is rather a lot. And perhaps explains why the relationship didn't last.

But is your mother getting better treatment - ignoring this bonkers doc - than she would be in the UK? Or are you thinking you should spirit yourselves back to the island? Best wishes from novembery Berlin.

patroclus said...

Thanks Lyn, and I feel I should point out that 90% of all posts in this blog contain exaggeration/omission for comedy effect - the médecin cartésien did sort it out in the end.

BiB - 20 seconds is about the optimum length of time for a relationship with a French geezer, in my experience. The medical care, on the other hand, is incomparably better over here than in the UK.

Mangonel said...

A gourmet challenged me to eat
A tiny piece of rattlesnake meat.
Remarking, 'Don't look horror-stricken,
You'll find it tastes a lot like chicken.'

It did. Now chicken I cannot eat
Because it tastes like rattlesnake meat.

Ogden Nash

kalista said...

A french chap accosted me in french cinema yesterday. He had greasy hair. Not nice.

Hope you and your mum are doing ok patch

patroclus said...

Mangonel: Yes, I should have taken it home and cooked it in the embers of the fire - clearly I haven't completely integrated into the French rural way of life yet.

Kalista: I am trying to think of fanciable French blokes, but can't...oh wait, Thierry Henry. I take it all back.

BiB said...

Frédéric Deltour's the horn, but you might have to be a gay man to fancy him. And he might be Belgian.

kalista said...

Yes, he is attractive. Though I think all attractive men in general are hiding from kalista at the moment.

Betty said...

I have quite a liking for French men. I even thought bloody Sasha Distel was a bit of alright. There, I've said it. I put it down to being over forty.

Hope things are okay: best wishes to you and your mum, and many positive vibes (well, as positive as you can get on a drizzly afternoon in Bexleyheath ...)

Valerie said...

I wonder if a dead snake can be used as a wireless antenna?

Probably doesn't work as well as lesbians with interstellar arrays, admittedly...

Do you sometimes feel like you're in the middle of a surrealist drama? Maybe it's time to read some Boris Vian. Or, perhaps that's not really necessary, since you're living it....

Valerie said...

Also, I think that Yann Tiersen is a bit cute. (Though mostly I think he makes great music.)

Anonymous said...

As well as being cartesian, les medicins francais also have a penchant for prescribing suppositories, which they recommend for nearly everything. Curious race.

patroclus said...

BiB: I have no idea who Frédéric Deltour is or what he looks like, but I'll take your word for it, as you are clearly a man of taste.

Betty: I have no idea what Sacha Distel looks like, so you're OK. Thanks for the good wishes, hope Bexleyheath brightens up soon.

Valerie, I never feel like I'm in a surrealist drama, but I do frequently feel like I'm in a kaleidoscopic Baudrillardian hall of mirrors, where there are lots of different versions of everyone, with no indication as to which ones are the real ones. And we've been here before, which indicates that the hall of mirrors is circular, or perhaps spherical, as if we're all trapped inside an inverted Baudrillardian mirrorball. I have no idea what Yann Tiersen looks like, but he did the music for Amélie, which is one of my favourite films, so he must be at least semi-alright.

Realdoc: Thankfully my mum has been spared the suppositories thus far.

Lorna said...

I'm sorry things are so tough: I hope the doctors gain some sense very soon. I hope the lesbians are just slightly delayed on the ferry (or in navigating the Eurostar). *Sending good wishes over to France*

Matt said...

This doesn't really tie in to the topic, but I just found this and it made me laugh outloud (which is quite unusual for me) so thought you might like it. Not that I just trawl the web looking for Turing related posts you understand. I also do some work from time to time. ahem.



Valerie said...

Baudrillard, oy. I think that's worse than Vian. The thing that disturbs me about this is not only would I not be able to be sure which reflection was the real anyone-else, I think I wouldn't be able to tell which was the real me. And then we're probably back to the whole bit about whether, in fact, they aren't all equally valid...

I am feeling slightly dizzy now.

Also: Yann -> http://imstars.aufeminin.com/stars/fan/D20050527/2103_504050850_yann_tiersen_H144727_L.jpg
Just, ya know, for completeness.

patroclus said...

Oo, gosh, hello Matt, thanks for that. I'm all for the next generation not being human. And there's nothing at all wrong with trawling the web looking for stuff about Alan Turing. It's better than trawling the web for Lizzie Bardsley naked, anyway.

Valerie: I did a Google image search for M. Tiersen, and not only does he have an accordion (not in itself a crime), but he also looks inescapably Gallic, and therefore does nothing for me other than make me go 'brrrr'.

GreatSheElephant said...

ooh. I just looked at that Yann Tiersen picture. *melts*

Ducatilady said...

having met James at the GW book signing I thought I should look up this 'Patroclus' that he is constantly mentioning...now I understand why. I too live in France for much of the year, in Deux Sevres, but spent 3 weeks this summer housesitting for a friend near Lamalou les bains. You certainly live in a glorious part of France, albeit a bit on the windy side!
As you can probably tell by my name, I wasn't one of the young ladies swooning over James' hair, lovely though it is, it has to be fraise blonde for me.

patroclus said...

Oohoo, Ducatilady, welcome! Lucky you getting to spend so much time in France. Lamalou is just up the road from here...it's where people go for their spa cures, and is therefore always full of poor sick people...well I guess you know that.

This is indeed a very lovely part of the world. I'm a bit further south, so it's still quite warm and sunny and not really windy at all. I'd rather be back in cold and rainy London, though, sigh...