The title is in honor of the French woman next to me on the bus who saw me reading English and asked if I was British or American and could I help her with a definition – the word was miscellaneous…
I walk down the sidewalk thinking and suddenly I have to push Andy Rooney back into a box in a recess of my mind. My blog makes me think in Andy Rooney speak sometimes… did ya ever….
It’s a tense time right now. Nope, not terrorists. My last days in France. I find I am consciously trying to avoid any catastrophes…. I have slipped and fallen twice and am being so careful to not a third time. But other catastrophes rear up in my mind. As I was leaving the apartment today and holding my keys in my hand, I had this image of the keys slipping out of my hand as I was pulling the door shut, falling inside the apartment while the momentum closed the door and thereby locking myself out of my apartment. I must have a special little man in my brain (see previous blogs for explanations re the little men… and the French and American/English librarians…) whose only job is to be fearful. With an active imagination! Fortunately, he is usually back in a nice room with ice cream and he rarely comes out to worry me.
I am also discovering a relaxation of a tension that I wasn’t very aware of. It’s the “get out of speaking French free card!” And I thought I loved this experience. I DO love this experience. But my brain is apparently looking forward to a few months of just one language. HA! Little does it realize – I still have TV 5 – the French channel on Xfinity and I have 3 French novels I want to finish. There will still be French spoken! And I might join Alliance Francaise again too.
I have a birthday upon me. The reality is that I am actually older than the day would suggest – meaning that when you reach your first birthday, you are actually starting your second year of life. It’s funny because centuries are done the same way – we are now in the 21st century. I don’t like this. Makes me feel old.
It has been cold here still. Yesterday in the Metro, I saw my breath. Yikes. That just isn’t right. Well, not on the platform itself, but down the corridor to get there. Brrrr
I was sick with a bad cold over NYE so my plans to spend it with a friend evaporated. Instead I sat on the couch hacking and coughing but I did stay up for midnight. This year Paris had a light show projected on the Arc de Triomphe followed by fireworks. It was televised so I enjoyed. Then I suddenly remembered how the airplanes flew over my apartment on the 14th of July for the Parade down the Champs Elysees. And I rushed to my window and yup! I could see the fireworks! It was sooooo cool.
My cold is almost gone. I am meeting all my friends for the final conversations for this visit. And in the midst of that, I am trying to get to sites I have not seen and pack.
I hate packing.
I love metaphors. The following is a description of a metaphor – you don’t have to send me to counseling…
I can’t recall when they moved in but I have always believed I have small beings living in my mind. They are really genderless, but I have always called them the little men. (I wonder if the creators of the Minions were spying in my brain because the Minions might be the closest to my little men.) There are one or two who handle the control room – computers before they really existed. The most important, however, are the creative guys who live in a padded room – well, I imagine it padded, I have never seen it actually. When there’s a problem I need solved, the control room guys walk it down to that room, open the door and toss it in. They only open the door a tiny bit and slam it shut immediately.
And then we go about our business. And suddenly, there is a big commotion when the creative little guys come running down to the control room exalting “EUREKA.” And then they go back to their little room and wait for the next time.
And now that I am in France, I have discovered another wing in my brain (“wing” as in extension to a mansion, not the part of the bird!). It’s the Language Hall. I guess it always existed but I never really had to be concerned about it. It’s like a library, complete with Librarian. OK, she’s a gal. Fine, my brain has stereotypes… And she loves vocabulary. I guess she studies dictionaries and passes the info on to me. It has always been automatic so I didn’t realize she was there. I actually discovered her when I met the French librarian up there. Yup. She’s very traditional chic Parisienne. And until now she has been bored to death. But suddenly she is excited to have some real work. And thank god for her. I think that’s why words can suddenly appear in my brain as I speaking more and more fluently. She actually introduced me to the English language librarian. Apparently there is a conference room between the two libraries and they meet there to confer about the technicalities of the language and the nuances of definitions.
And they both deserve medals! Earlier this week I had a conversation in French about the California drought and El Nino and the need for snowpack. My friend thought the rain and snow was for the ground water. I had to explain snowpack and how it melts, replenishing reservoirs over the summer in a good year. And the French word for “fill up” just appeared in my brain without any effort. The guys in the control room and the creative guys were all watching on a monitor and wanted to break out in a Happy Dance – but that had to be put on hold until the conversation finished.
Speaking of Happy Dance, so far none of my French friends are familiar with that concept. I show them the famous Snoopy cartoon and they immediately understand. My goal is to increase French awareness of Happy Dances. One friend told me that the difference between French and Americans was obvious to her when a Katrina survivor was interviewed and talked about rebuilding – that “can do it” attitude. She said a French person would have complained about their problems…
I suppose it gets old, in the blog, to hear me go on and on about my French-speaking milestones – but it is so exciting to me. Sorry. Happy Dance time!