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Our European correspondent Mike Alexander tells of his ongoing battle with a local carrier for the French postal service.
The postman (facteur in French) careening around the countryside in his little yellow van is ubiquitous in France, much more a part of culture here than the stereotypical Frenchman in a beret smoking Gauloises cigarettes. Where I garden, the postman has a strict policy of never getting out of his van unless absolutely necessary. He veers from one side of the road to the other bouncing up curbs and over sidewalks then stretching through his window to toss the day’s mail into its respective box. He will do anything to avoid getting out of that car. In fact, one might be forgiven for thinking that he is part of a government disability program; the unfortunate victim of some industrial accident involving a runaway locomotive perhaps or something even more terrible that has left him minus a leg or two.