Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Talking with the French

I have occasionally (okay, frequently) mentioned that I like to talk to French people.  If I give the impression that this is always a pleasure - well, no.  I have had prospective French conversation partners who were too dogmatic for me, or found it too hard to talk with on a recurring basis (one woman had the ability to always ping me when I was in a conversation with someone else, and I'm not sure she believed me when I said um, next time?)

I just had the latest of those.  I have a connection on Facebook with a young woman who is a friend of the girl who stayed with us, several years ago.  That young woman was trying to figure out a way to get her mother to New York, and 'our' girl said Well, we were just in New York with some friends of our family.... So the young woman contacted me to see what was possible.  Once she realized that I don't live in New York -- and in fact live several hours away -- she stopped talking with me, but because we are still connected on Facebook, I see status notes that she posts.

Today she posted a picture of some people looking glumly at a car that seemed to be stuck in snow, with the caption "Derniere connerie de l'annee'.  Now, I don't really know what connerie means, but as it happens it's part of a French phrase that appears in a novel that I like (one of the Aubrey/Maturin series), where the British naval captain semi-quotes a French friend as saying Quelle connerie.  At the time, I thought what? , and looked it up; today, I vaguely remembered the word as meaning stupidity,  or bullshit, something like that.  Gee, I thought, I wonder where the snow was, that triggered this response.  So I asked -- Oú est la neige?  Where is the snow - ie, Paris, Bordeaux, where?

Her response?  Sur le sol. On the ground.

So talking to French people is not always an unmitigated joy....

No comments: