Sunday, January 27, 2008

auditory processing for dummies

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 France. What makes this even more “pretardish” is how I’m walking through the neighborhood -- yammering aloud the unfamiliar syllables of a foreign language, all in an attempt to make this stuff seem a bit more familiar to my brain, ears and lips.

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.


Hedy said...

Merde (maird). That's how you say 'shit' in French. I'm sure it will come in handy and they'll never teach that on the tapes. If you have time, visit Pere Lachaise cemetery. Amazing (I don't know how to say that in French). :)

Jeni said...

Just be sure to learn how to "Roll your r's" -as that was I think the very first thing we learned in French class in high school. As a matter of fact, our instructor considered that SOOOOO important that I think we spent the whole class period for at least the first month, just practicing "rolling our r's." She said her students here had difficulty with that because we were all primarily of either Swedish or Slovak origins and still had some of the gutteral intonations deeply locked inside us, thus preventing our learning to roll (or trill) our r's properly.

Gledwood said...

Moi je parles un 'tit peut du francais... ach merde! J'oublie toutfois les mots corrects!


yeah man ~ powerball fever!

Our Euro lottery only goes to about £120,000,000 maximum jackpot, which is about $240,000,000 TAX FREE LUMP SUM... is that American multistate powerball lottery "thang" any bigger than that, when you include the taxfree status and fact that it is paid out all in one... ?? please rsvp as i'm fascinated to know!

molly gras said...
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molly gras said...
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molly gras said...

Hedy -
merde, got it! Thanks. And googled pics of the cemetery -- way cool, looks ALOT like the cemeteries you'd find in New Orleans.

Jeni -
rolling 'r's as we speak. I just can't keep up with the 'oo's and 'voo's and 'zee's that scream past my ears. I've given up for awhile and returned to listening to music while wrestling with the dog's walk.

Gledwood -
Cute hamster, is he one of your's? And as far as Powerball is concerned, NO we don't have such lucrative outcomes. But just this year we had a multi-week Powerball run reach up over $314million and you better believe I bought my $5 worth of numbers!!

However, according to Powerball FAQ, winners do have a choice between receiving roughly half of the winnings value in cash vs. agreeing to an annuity payout which gets paid out over 29 years (instant income for no labor!). There are obviously pros and cons to both options, but I truly think it all comes down to control and trust issues -- people want immediate control over that vast amount of money and don't trust the investment strategies and payout promises of perfect strangers.

All I can say is that when I win the big one, I'll ask for mine all at once, make good with the obnoxious amount of government taxes, pay off my debts, invest wisely and live off the rest while I pursue more rewarding activities.

That's what I would do! How about you?

molly gras said...

I hate it when word verification is being spastic.

I posted my long-assed, comment THREE times and thought it ridiculous to leave them all there.

*delete *delete

That's pretty much how I think/write

*delete *delete

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Oz,

Came here from jeni's Down River Drivel and thoroughly enjoyed my first visit.

Don't forget to use your hands when speaking Francais ....


molly gras said...

David -
So glad you could stop by! I love your blog -- great pictures and lovely commentary of life Down Under.

I've ALWAYS wanted to visit Australia, ever since reading Bruce Chatwin's Songlines. But then I chickened out when I found out that, next to Africa, you all have some of the most deadliest snakes, spiders, toads, marine life, etc. on the planet.

I was afraid I never make it back alive!

Thanks again for stopping by :)

Sandi McBride said...

Look at it this way, at least the pup will be able to understand you whether you speak to her/him in English or fracured French...I'd rather my dog had a clue than most people, anyway...the dog actually cares about me!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Great post. Very funny. And Max sounds like a cool hound. Sent this way from David's blog. :D

molly gras said...

Sandi -
How nice of you to stop by! Have you all down there recovered sufficiently from your Presidential primaries? Up here, in PA, we're not really given the opportunity to give our opinion early enough.

And regarding my poochie, yes, it is a lovely thing to have a dog "understand" you. Except my pup is terribly stubborn and prone to sending me subliminal messages along the lines of "No, I do not want to go for a walk" and "Don't take that away from me, I wasn't done mauling it". He really is a constant source of entertainment.

Jo -
Darlin'! It's so lovely that you stopped in. We seem to travel in some of the same wonderful blogging circles (e.g., Missing You Already and I believe 3kidsnojob -- I've only just gotten to know David McMahon!)

And if you've gotten the chance to peruse previous posts pertaining to Maxie pooch, you'll get the idea that I'm really rather ga-ga for the guy -- except on those few occasions I want to list him on eBay ("bad dog! don't chew on the 8 year old!")