Maslow’s hierarchy of Americans on airplanes

We all learnt about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in college. Your most basic needs are physiological; next, safety; and so on, up to self-actualization. What is less commonly known is that there is a hierarchy of Americans on planes to and from France. Going there for work is way cooler than going there as a tourist, for instance. Amongst people going there for work, my gig at the National Center for Scientific Research ranks highly, but not as highly as that of the guy who I sat next to coming home from Paris this weekend, who was there to work on nuclear weapon security issues with Interpol. That’s really cool. Of course, I knew all of this only because like me, he was an American, and might actually exchange life facts with the person sitting next to him on an airplane—unlike a Frenchman, who wouldn’t dream of having a personal conversation with a stranger in that environment. Here are some random words that I ran across while working my way through a book about serial killers on the plane. (P.s.: in the hierarchy of Americans on planes, reading something in French bumps you way up, although wearing a beret would bump you way, way down.)

  • en tant que: As (a).  We actually ran into this one a few posts ago, but it bears repeating.  En tant que médecin, il était bien placé pour commettre plus de deux cent cinquante meurtres sans éveiller de soupçons.  “As a doctor, he was well placed to commit over 250 murders without arousing suspicion.”  (Note: this is taken from the bilingual book Meurtres à l’anglaise, by Ross Charnock.)
  • éveiller de: to kindle, stimulate, arouse.  (See above.)
  • le porte-parole: spokesperson, representative.  Selon le porte-parole de la police de Manchester…  “According to the spokesman for the Manchester police…”

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