Lately I must look like a crazy pretard – bundled up against the cold, wearing headphones and an iPod, trying to “walk” a spastic dog that continually lurches about at the end of his leash. And to make matters worse, innocent passer-byers have no idea that I’ve got half my brain occupied with trying to keep my stupid puppy from running out into the middle of the road while the other half of my brain is trying to “learn” French for an upcoming trip to
I must look rather bizzaro to the people who walk and drive by.
“Bonjour, monsieur,” intones the melodious French instructor in my left ear. Good Morning, sir.
“BONjur MONsir,” I yollar out loud.
“Je vous connais?” my right ear murmurs. Do I know you?
“JAY voo con-nay!” I belt out again. This time, Max stops, tilts his head to the side as if to say, “Umm, you know you’re making funny noises in the middle of nowhere, right?!”
“Well, you try making sense of all these ‘oo’s, ‘voo’s, ‘zee’s ‘sh’s, and ‘ch’s – it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin!”
Well at this point, my internal dialogue has wandered off so much that I’m severely sidetracked and have lost track of what order the sounds are supposed to be, where in the lesson I’m supposed to be, and am thoroughly confused.
“Où sont je,” chimes an efficient and perfectly accented woman. Where am I?
“WHO zont chee-a,” I attempt to mimic.
“Je suis perdu,” continues the same perfect voice. I am lost.
“JAy zeus – ‘Jesus’, that’s funny! PERdue, hey, like Perdue chicken. I like their chicken. It’s a shame they had to go and raise their prices. Such good quality, though. Oh shoot, where am I?!”
And then …
the rapid fire series begins
and I’m woefully unprepared for the subsequent auditory onslaught:
Where is the bathroom?
"Où est la salle de bains?” – Duh bains? Like brains? Weird.
I desire a room with a shower.
"Je désire une chambre avec une douche.” – A douche? Ewww, that’s just gross!
I have lost my mind.
“J'ai perdu mon santé mentale” – Ment-towel? Oh, I’m mental alright!
Is not a problem.
“N'est pas un problème” – NEST pa? Fathers like living in twiggy abodes?!
I will continue to drink heavily.
“Je continuerai à boire lourdement” – Je oo a boo loo err ment!! I have no bloody idea what I just said!
Where can I buy more wine?
“Où peut j'acheter plus de vin?” – Duh vine? Wine! I heard wine! I must, absolutely must, remember that phrase!!
“Merci bien pour votre aide.” – Mercy! Oh lordy, please have mercy on me! I am lost in the land of parlay voo!
So I continue to mumble, curse, meander, and cry out in confusion as I finish up my “tug-of-war” walk with Max. This may not be what the French for Dummies people had in mind when they created their language lessons, but it’s the best I can manage with the time resources I have available.
Besides, now I know which phrases to focus my linguistics efforts on: “plus de vin s'il vous plait” (more wine please) and “Où est la salle de bains?” (where is the bathroom?)
I figure anything more than that is icing on the cake.