Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I hate French

I have to memorize a 5-minute speech on something -- anything -- francais. I chose to do the Cannes Film Festival. It begins:

Le Festival de Cannes est le festival le plus prestigieux du monde. Le premier Festival International du Film a commence le premier septembre 1939. Le mois a ete choisi par les officiers de la ville parce qu'ils avaient realise que c'etait un evenement qu'ils pourraient utiliser pour prolonger la saison touristique de deux semaines. Mais le festival a survecu seulement pour un soir. Il a ete annuler quand la France s'est alliee a l'Angleterre pour declarer la guerre a l'Allemagne.

It ends, not-so-shockingly:

La reputation du festival grandit chaque annee! *Correction: Le festival est le plus celebre maintenant et c'est un des evenements les plus importantes en France, culturellement and economiquement.

One word: Bland.

The last time I had to memorize anything was when I adopted a cockney accent (every third period for a semester) and proceeded to play Balthazar and lazy servant number 2 in Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet". (Oh, versatile poncho, you go from rider to friar with a whip of your fringe!) Intonation, silent Hs, every mouthful was an act of brutal physics. But now, I have to deal with intonation, vibrating Rs, and unpredictable spraying saliva, an act of a sardonic God.

***

I'm suspecting my neighbour is developing a "thing" for me. Too helpful, too nice, too accomodating, too much. I hung out with him until 5 a.m. last night and he drilled me for answers about the state of my love life. Not drilled, insinuated -- listing real and imagined suitors for me to react to. Men are as subtle as anvils; women, as treacherous. "No," I replied. "I'm going to keep to myself for the time being, stay away from the opposite sex for awhile." Then warned ominously: "I don't like to lead men on. Once I find out someone likes me, he'll never see me again. Why bother trying to be something we're not?"

He nodded, ponderously. I hope he got the hint.

It's not like I want to skip on over there on a constant basis. The neighbour's roommate has a girlfriend who looks noticeably agitated whenever I come around. The other day, I asked her boyfriend if he had change for a five-note so I could do my laundry. She snapped at me to go get it from the convenience store downstairs. Though he returned a moment later, happily handing me a few loonies, I couldn't shake off the notion that his disgruntled old lady was trying to brand me through the wall, Kal-El style.

So this is how it feels to be on the other end of a woman's wrath: It really sucks.

No comments: