Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pardon My French

I will be the first to admit I have more than my fair share of beauty challenges. Bed head - check. Developing neck waddle - check. Thin lips, dry cuticles, knee fat - check, check, check. But one thing I refuse to be, pillow lines on face notwithstanding, is an ugly American. Now the process of avoiding this label may indeed be ugly; this is becoming rapidly apparent as I try in earnest to speak the Lingua Franca. That handy French phrase book from Barnes and Noble? More useful as a shim under a wobbly table. CDs, podcasts, iPhone apps? Helpful for saying things like, "Do you accept a Traveler's check?" (Puis-je payer avec un chèque de voyage? Does anyone even use these anymore?) or, "Can you fix this puncture?" (Est-ce que vous pouvez réparer cette crevaison? Seriously.). When you're looking for a 110 volt 2-pin electrical converter because you just fried your blowdryer with an international plug adapter from The Shack, J'aime vos cheveux! ("I like your hair!") is about the best you're going to do frantically searching your baby Berlitz in the middle of a busy intersection with a street map in your armpit and a Métro ticket in your teeth. Undeterred, I continue to humiliate myself and my homeland by butchering the natural beauty of the language practicing on complete strangers.
French femme with tres chic jacket, slacks and shoes
This poor lady got a dose of Diane the Obvious Foreigner when I tried to compliment her totally cool jacket. Je veux ta veste! I tell her, thinking I am saying, "I would like a jacket like yours!" Celui-ci? she questions with a concerned look, pointing at herself. Oui! Oui! I exclaim with extra enthusiasm to fortify my admiration. Je suis désolé il n'est pas à vendre! "It's not for sale!" she answers, backing away. Turns out I told her I wanted her exact jacket, the one she was wearing on her body, not one like hers. Mon Dieu!

Location:La Méridienne,Saint-Félix-de-l'Héras,France

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