You guys, I am enjoying the heck out of my French classes. The HECK, I say. I am enjoying them so much that right now I almost---almost!---want to leave the comfy couch where I'm sitting under a blanket with a glass of wine in my right hand and a square of dark chocolate at my left, and find my iPhone so I can use my new French dictionary app to look up "heck" in French, or at least a reasonable equivalent.
Nothing will make you feel so old, by the way, as stopping a language in 1998 and then picking it up twelve years later, during which time a significant number of, uh, technological advances have been made in the world. Why, the kids these days have French dictionary iPhone apps, for goodness sake! In fact, I myself have quickly amassed a grand total of five apps related to my newly-rediscovered hobby and I tell you, you have not lived until you have played French Study Buddy on public transport at 7:45am, while a gaggle of bleary-eyed hipsters who got on at Duboce Park peer over their Kanye-style filtered shades at you in bewilderment. (What, like it isn't normal to be feverishly thumbing through an educational textbook, muttering conjugations to oneself while wildly tapping the screen of one's phone? I have seen worse on MUNI, my friends. Like, naked worse.)
I think part of what made our first class last week so horrifying was that Alison and I were completely unprepared. Whole tenses had slipped away from us in the intervening years between sitting our French exams LAST CENTURY and wandering into Classroom D on a freezing San Francisco night, and our minds were as blank as the open notebooks we'd forgotten to bring with us to class because OH YEAHHHH, PAPER. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD IDEA.
During the portion in which I was supposed to introduce another to student to the class after we'd chatted for five minutes about ourselves, I told the room, in my nervousness, that she was born in 1945. Would have been awesome if she had been born in 1945, of course---and just between us, would it have killed her to start talking about Metamucil or pretending to walk with a cane just to help me save face?---she was in fact a sprightly 25-year-old. Who'd been born in 1985.
Later, I told the teacher that I learned to drive when I was sixty years old. "Not to worry," said Alison. "I told her I did it when I was ten-six."
But that was last week---all ninety terrifying, sweat-inducing, bowel-shaking minutes of it---and this is now, and now I am finding that my French lessons are pretty much the highlight of my entire week, and not just the lesson itself but also the homework part. Do you know how long it's been since I've had homework? Does it surprise you at all that I actually really like homework? I did the shit out of my French homework on Tuesday night, is what I'm saying, and I enjoyed every nerdy, Type-A, dictionary-rifling second of it. Pssst, come closer: I listened to the French radio while I did it.
Maybe I was listening too hard and got distracted, though, because when I got to class I discovered that I'd accidentally done, like, three times the homework I was supposed to have done, despite the fact that it did, at one point, occur to me that it was taking an awfully long time. Instead of just answering the questions in the book and then comparing my answer with my partner's in class, see, I had written down potential answers for my fictional partner too. The end result, therefore was these weird little conversations between fake French people in my head that were not so much:
What did you do last night? Me, I went to the cinema with Jean-Pierre.
But more like:
- What did you do last night? Me, I went to the cinema with Jean-Pierre.
- How interesting. I went to the theatre with Marie-Claude.
- Marie-Claude! How is that bitch? I heard her husband left her for a stripper. Probably because she has a terrible coke problem and looks like a wrung-out Star Wars character. Did you have fun at the cinema with Jean-Pierre?
(Please note: the blogger reserves the right to editorialize. I mean, it's not like the blogger even knows the French word for stripper anyway, come on.)
When I tried to tell the teacher, however, that I'd accidentally done twice the necessary amount of work, the self-deprecating "aw shucks, I'm an idiot" tone I was going for didn't exactly translate into the French, and instead I just sounded like a massive brown-nosing brown-noser who stayed up til midnight on a school night on purpose just to fabricate fictional French conversations for extra credit. It's a pretty safe bet that everyone else in the class hates me.
That's okay though, because if I learned anything from any single episode of The Bachelor ever, it's that I'm not there to make friends. No, I'm there to become America's Next Top Awesome French Speaker Who Still Often Forgets The Pluperfect Conditional. So bring it, I say. Allons y! I have these iPhone apps and I'm not afraid to use them.