This is a French expression that I have heard a lot over the last three days. “Faut pas pousser Meme dans les orties”.
Literally, it means “Don’t push Granny in the stinging nettles”. Well, obviously, you must now ask yourself why I would want to push my Grandma in the first place, let alone on stinging nettles. Don’t worry, I didn’t push my grandmother anywhere. I am not this sort of person, if you must know.
It is quite difficult to translate such an expression. I am actually not sure of what the exact English translation would be. I believe that the closest would be “Don’t push it”, or maybe “don’t get ahead of yourself”. Basically, it means that you mustn’t go too far, or too fast, and you need to adapt your pace and your actions to the persons you are dealing with. I have just spent a few days in France, and the pace there was really, really slow. I really tried to progress all I had to do, but, lots of times, I sensed –and was told- that I was pushing granny in the stinging nettles. That’s just the kind of person I am, I suppose. I like to make things happen. Apparently I am too pushy. That said, though the fresh leaves can cause painful stings, these are rarely seriously harmful. Some nettles are even eaten as vegetables after being steamed (I have to admit that I have never tried). Nettles can also be used to cure or alleviate a variety of conditions.
In short, the question that I am asking myself is: “Is it that bad to push granny in the stinging nettles?”. OK, she will be upset and she is quite old, but sometimes, you just have to act, don’t you?