French is neat. I don’t remember when it was exactly that I fell in like with the language. I’m not ready for love yet. I’m keeping my options open. There are plenty of other languages in the language sea. No rush to settle down with just one. Maybe it was that my high school only offered Spanish (eh, I know that one already), Japanese (heard horror stories of both the teacher and the difficulty of learning it), and French (pretty, pretty French), that the choice was kinda made for me. I knew I liked wine and cheese and maybe, if I can be honest with myself, I just wanted to learn the correct pronunciation of “voulez- vous coucher avec moi?”, not to whore it up, mom, but really to open up my karaoke choices by going for Lady Marmalade for once. (Note: unless singer in Rock Band counts, I have never karaoke’ed in my life. Not that I wouldn’t. I just have not been in the position to do it)
“I learned three years of French too,” I said to my coworker when I was trying to convince her we should speak French in the office so we can, in a way, talk in code when speaking in front of others. You can see based on how I said this to her that I should’ve had English class a little longer.
“But you sound French-y, and I have forgotten a lot of it already. I never practice.” She resisted.
“Thank you! Can I tell people I’m actually French and not Mexican then? And also, I haven’t had French for a lot longer than you. You graduated like, what, yesterday? And my high school reunion is next year—woah! I think I need to go cry in the restroom,” I say to her dropping the idea of secret conversations in front of people at work. All I wanted was to feel like what the nail salon ladies feel when they talk to each other in their language while they do your nails. Was that too much to ask for?
Those who have heard me speak French, have given me the compliment “you sound French-y.” I’m pretty sure, though, that to a French person I must sound horrible. I totally lucked out with the teacher. Mrs. Fundukian (I wonder if she has a facebook) was the best! She was the reason why I still remember a lot of what I learned…well, also that I talk to myself a lot in public and I do it in French so people can think I’m crazy, but also French.
What I remember most about class were the dreaded presentations/conversations we had to do all the time. No one liked those. The one that sticks out in my memory the most is the one we did when we were learning the vocab for things found and used in the bathroom. I don’t recall who was in my team, but I remember it was all girls. Immediately I thought of making our presentation be about how all the other girls had dates to go to and were rushing in and out of the bathroom to get ready, while I kept getting pushed last in line and I really had to pee (little did I know this was foretelling of my adult years). For those old classmates who may be reading this, if you remember my pee dance during this, I will have you know that I have perfected that dance. I was even a finalist on “So You Think You Can Pee Pee Dance” but the show never got picked up by the networks. For those of you who weren’t in my French class, our presentation ended with me suddenly standing very still and upon being told that the bathroom was all mine, I replied “Non. Je ne l'ai pas besoin. J'ai déjà fait pipi moi-même en plain air.” I don’t think you have to know French to know what happened there.