In the more than four years that I’ve been (sporadically) writing this blog, I’ve owned up to a lot of things that I never thought I would impart to another living soul.
Although if you saw my stats, you’d probably tell me not to worry, because I haven’t told anyone. On the same principle that a falling tree doesn’t make a noise if there’s nobody there to hear it, a revelation isn’t a revelation if nobody reads it.
Of course. I can well understand your indifference to such back-story nuggets as the fact that my (one-and-only) attempt at a driving test was quite possibly the most comprehensive failure in the history of the internal combusion engine. Or that I spent eighteen months cleaning my shoes before discovering that I hadn’t actually taken the lid off the polish properly.
But these are foibles; mere human weaknesses. Oh alright then: painful inadequacies. However, at least they weren’t actually illegal.
To be quite clear, I am in almost all aspects a law-abiding citizen. But I have broken the law. No grand theft, or even petty larceny. No fraud or embezzlement. Not even a parking ticket. And I’ve certainly never killed anyone.
Any minor transgressions I may have committed in a vain attempt to mis–spend my youth (under-age driinking; a little light substance abuse) were so long ago as to fall well outside the strictures of the Statute of Limitations.
“Breaking the law. Think about the last time you broke a rule.. [a big one]. Were you burned or did things turn out for the best?”
You may think that the only reasons I have lived outside the UK since 2001 are simply work- and retirement-related. Would that it were so simple. The fact is that I had to flee the country of my birth because I have flouted the laws of the land. Even though I have never – never – entered the Houses of Parliament while wearing a suit of armour, I have wilfully not practiced archery and I have eaten mince pies on Christmas Day. More than once.
So I’m not just a felon: I’m a recidivist.
I really thought I’d be okay here in France: a fresh start, a clean slate: all that sort of thing. I mean, look at some of the illegal things I could have done but have wisely eschewed:
- Not owning a pig in the first place, I haven’t fallen foul of the ban on calling said swine ‘Napoleon’.
- No longer employed, I haven’t transgressed the law that forbids drinking any alcohol at work except wine, beer, cider, perry or hydromel (whatever that is – made from fermented honey, apparently).
- I have resolutely resisted the illicit temptation to carry live snails on a high-speed train without buying them a ticket.
Yet, despite my very best efforts, I’m still a guilty man. For where is the bale of hay that all French people are required to keep at home? It doesn’t matter that the reason for this is to have fodder available should the king happen to pass by on his horse. The chances of which out here in the sticks must be vanishingly small.
And what with there being no king any more.
I derive some comfort from the fact that I’m not the only one (although, thinking about it, it’s quite possible that I may be the only one around here…). And in general, when it comes to transgressions of the criminal code I doubt if I’m on anyone’s most-wanted list.
But unfortunately, in researching this post I also looked at the civil code. And now I’m really worried.
Because in the laws that cover grounds for divorce, there is apparently such a thing as ‘intellectual infidelity’. One example of which is being too interested in football.