Why Don’t the French Speak French to Me?

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Yes.  Why is this?  Thank you so much for bringing this up, Alexis.  Why, you’re welcome, Alexis.  I’ve always loved that name.  Yes, me too.  And, your hairstyle.  It’s amazing.  Amazing!  You remind me of a Portlandia character who didn’t quite make it on the show.  Why, that’s exactly what I was going for!  Also, I’ve been meaning to compliment you on your uncanny promptness and ability to secularly excuse someone from sneezing.  I love that you say “Good bless you” instead of “God Bless you.”  It’s so refreshing because it doesn’t quite make sense.  And, you know, at the end of the day, that’s what I love about you Alexis, you don’t quite make sense.  So many people in this great, green world make sense, but you, you don’t.  I could go on, but I won’t.  I’ll continue telling you this astute social comment and eating this really delicious Waldorf salad.

Now, why doesn’t  Vincent speak French to me?  He clearly knows I am trying to learn, yet he often, subtly switches to English.  How peculiar.  Also, why does he refuse to find more French friends in America?  We saw those older women speaking French at the concert hall and I said, loudly enough for them to hear me (social strategy) “FRENCH!” Vincent however pretended not to hear them and then said, “That violinist was really good” in English.  What the garfunkle?  We could have used those women’s AARP discount for cheaper movie tickets and then see films like, “The War Like Never Before” or “The English Countryside: a documentary.”

Also, when we were on the train in Chicago we heard some Frenchers talking and Vincent whispered, “They’re French” and then I said, “Say hi!  Introduce yourself” and then Vincent shook his head and pretended to read a map.  Then he said, “They’re from Lyon,” which is the exact place he is from!  They all were halfway around the world but someone didn’t want to talk to them and make the French connection.  What is with these French! They are so anti-French!  I am easily the most pro-French person I know and I get stuck with an Anti-French French.  What the heck.  I’m going to give an anti-high five to Vincent when he gets home.  This will consist of pretending to give a high five but then at the last minute, not giving the high five.  That’ll teach him.

Anyway, I need to learn French.  Like, seriously.  I meet Vincent’s family in T minus three months and I need to be able to speak really well as to come across as impressive and thoughtful.  Well, actually the problem is less the speaking and more the listening.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I am not that good of an American listener, let alone a French listener.  I often create grocery lists in my head while people tell me traumatic childhood moments.  What am I going to do in France when people at the grocery story tell me their own traumatic childhood moments?  I need to practice French.

We do have a French club and it’s very fun but there hasn’t been a meeting in months and guess who is the president or should I say, “presidente” of French Club?  You with the twirly mustache guessed it: Vincent, our anti-French friend.


Things are going to change, Lionel.  You bet your plaid shirt they will.


La Femme et L’Homme Pechent

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The fish swims and the fish catches salami and the fish is pulled out of the ocean and the fish breathes air and the fish has the hook caught in its mouth and the fish nearly dies.  Might have died.  Swam away, but with a hook in its mouth.  We do not know.  Our morality is questioned.  We wonder if we are good–the results are inconclusive.  The only thing we know is that we are flawed.  We wanted to fish and we did it, but we don’t know enough about it to do it, so we shouldn’t be doing it and we won’t.  Here, take this Oxford English Dictionary; I’ll swear by it.  I won’t fish anymore.

IMG_1498This happened two minutes ago.  You can trust me.  I am quite possibly the most honest person you know.  I am more honest than your third grade teacher.  I am more honest because of my third grade teacher who caught me cheating on a test and I only cheated one other time again, in high school, Latin and that wasn’t really intentional.  That was a great course, but as you can see, I’ve taken up French.  If I had become swept away by an ancient Roman fellow named Stercus or Marcus, then I’m sure I would have been learning Latin.  Ecce Romani!


So, my French now fiance–yep, he said yes when I asked him on the plane to Chicago–he has no idea what he’s getting himself into: a lifetime of strange humor and jokes that don’t quite make sense.  Anyway, we went fishing tonight.


The better part of my day and the less morally confusing was talking to Vincent’s lovely French family.  We spoke over skype and it was so wonderful.  I understood such words as “voiture” and “cherche” and “travail.”  I’ve been doing a lot of Duolingo and I’m at 42% reading proficiency, which really doesn’t show in my accent or in my ability to speak to Vincent’s lovely French family.  I kind of freeze up—as if the picture is frozen on the computer–but really that’s just me looking out into space, wondering how I can possibly talk or contribute to the conversation.  I mainly just nod and say “Oui.”  Sometimes I just say “Oui” in my head.  It still counts.  If one is speaking French in their head, it still counts.  Don’t tell me otherwise or I’ll punch your lights out.


Anyway, I don’t have much to say tonight other than this somewhat traumatic experience with the fish and wondering if that petit poisson will be okay.  J’espere.  I hope it will be.  I do eat fish though, so it’s not like I don’t understand because I do.  It’s just that I don’t kill things very often.  It’s very painful.  It’s very hard to watch.  I am grateful that there are people who fish who are knowledgeable about it.  Sustainability is a whole other issue.  Oh Zeus! I’m pouring myself some more Chardonnay right now.  Moral issues just lead me to drink more glasses of wine.


IMG_1492Speaking of wine and how much you like my outfit–oh you didn’t just comment on my outfit?–I’ve started saying this hilarious joke where I call Vincent “Vin Rouge.”  By the dawn’s early light is it funny.  It is absolutely hilarious.  He really enjoys it–especially when we are walking home from the beach and talking to each other in Russian accents.  Other people seem to totally “get” us.

Okay.  This wine is getting warm.  I must ingest.
Bonsoir mon ami.  May you eat all the fish you catch.  May you drink the finest wine.  May the hook in that fish fall out and may it swim away into the great big sea.