Not since Napoleon have the French administered such a decisive defeat. Today they walloped me. I surrendered in class and laid down my books with a fart and a whimper. Agitated, my muttering bubbled up into a full-on proclamation. I lost my shit, “I CAN”T DO THIS!”
The class collectively parked their language skills in favor of the show. They sat quietly in preparation for the dark cloud to dump.
I dumped. “You ever been broke down on the freeway watching all the cars go by? That’s me in this class. I can go sit in a cafe if all I want is to hear people speak French.”
The talented psycho-analyst slash babysitter assured me, “You’re right with the pack. You’re not broke down at all, you just need a tune-up. Besides, nobody’s learning anything.” I think she meant, everything.
Even though her English is light years ahead of my French, at that moment I felt much better. And like Napoleon, I got back up on my language horse ready for the next ass whoopin’.
She’s half my age. Maybe less. I had told her, “I’m old enough to be your father. I was not speaking French before you were born.”
Looking back, it didn’t make me sound smarter. She gifted me a gentle look of pity, which I appreciated. She whispered, “We’ve got work to do.”
“I turned to the class—”Stand down everyone.” I picked up my books and reclaimed my seat.
Heading home on the metro and reflecting on the day’s meltdown, I watched a toddler practice passé composé with his mom.
I hate that guy. French Dick and Jane is about my speed. I believe I could beat him arm wrestling though.