Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Irons in the fire
I just got these two books from Amazon-- Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French by Stephen Clarke and Pardon My French: Unleash Your Inner Gaul by Charles Timoney. And I do not have any spare time in my days right now to read them. Too many irons in the fire. Too much to do.
I have read Clarke's Merde series of books. He is a very funny Brit who lives in France. I admit that I already peaked at the chapter entitled Thou Shalt Be Polite (and simultaneously rude) "... The French are geniuses at being polite while simultaneously insulting you. You've never been put down until you've been put down by a Frenchman. And they do it with such aplomb. They can wish you a good day, call you an idiot and send you sprawling into the verbal gutter before you even open your mouth to reply." That reminds me of a warm September day while living in Arles. I had been to the Saturday market (I only shopped there and at Monoprix) and bought a cute, I thought, tie-dyed green and white cotton dress. I decided to wear it for drinks one warm, sunny afternoon. I thought I looked rather cute. I had even done my hair and put on lipstick and earrings, for goodness sake. We met up with friends, men and women I had come to know fairly well during the 3 months I had been living there. One woman, though, looked me up and down and said something along the lines of "That's a pretty color and it would look very nice in the spring." I realized I had made a fashion faux pas rating somewhere up there with wearing white shoes after Labor Day in the South. And this coming from a heavyset woman with orange hair. I really liked her and my feelings towards her didn't change, but believe me, I did not wear that dress again until April. I am just not a self-confident dresser in France. I agonize over what to pack every single time I go. Silly Américaine.
Charles Timoney is also a Brit, married to a French woman and living in France. The purpose of his book is to teach us non-native French speakers useful everyday expressions that we are not taught in our French classes (and, I am sure, expressions that I am probably NOT teaching my 6th, 7th and 8th graders). The first chapter has to do with food and drink. A very nice way to begin, n'est-ce pas? Et très important since for some people eating and drinking is the only reason they go to the country formerly known as Gaul. I look forward to practicing my new expressions when I am back in France next month. That is if I find time to read my new books. There is always the 7 hour flight over with my 14 charges...
Bon appétit to all mamans et filles!
My thoughts are with the BFF and her mommy, Helen.