Friday, February 24, 2006
Some of you have asked how my French classes are going and if I’ve met any fun people. I think Fred was hoping that my classes would be a good way for me to meet some new friends, which would help me feel more at home in France. Plus, he never really liked my friends in San Francisco. Now that we’re here I feel I can tell you the truth because you can’t have him deported. Okay, sorry, I’m lying again. Fred is sleeping and can’t defend himself; that’s when I like to attack. In reality Fred always tells me that he thinks that I have great friends and he considers all of you his friends now too. When he wakes up, I’ll break the news to him and tell him that none of you ever liked him, you were just being nice to him out of your utmost respect and deep love for me.
So far I haven’t made any great bonds with my classmates. I mean, come on, how can they compete with all of you?!? One of the problems with getting to know my classmates is that class registration is on a rolling basis. Students drift in and out. Some are there for a week, some several, and other months. I haven’t met anyone like me yet, someone who will be there forever. And I really mean forever if I keep “learning” at this pace.
The good thing about the class structure is if someone in the class is annoying it’s not like I have to spend an entire semester with them. I’m sure you’ve all experienced this situation in college, traffic school, or group therapy. There’s always one person who thinks he or she knows all the answers and is full of stupid jokes. And the longer they’ve been out of school the more annoying they are. These people need to be resocialized before being set loose in a classroom again.
Today Annie Wilks was in my class. After she interrupted me and others multiple times (including during the course of a listening exercise when we were taking dictation from a cassette, forcing the teacher to stop and rewind the tape so we could start over; and after she answered questions that were directed at me on two occasions because apparently she thought I was taking too long to collect my thoughts) I wanted to yell at her and tell her to give up French classes as she has a lucrative career waiting for her as a Kathy Bates look-a-like. Instead I repeated "excuse me" until she finally stopped. During the break she apologized to me in front of the class, which made me dislike her even more for playing to the crowd. I know this is probably unfair; she does have acting in her blood.
*The role of James Caan in this photo is being played by me.
Later we moved on to another exercise. We were to describe for the class a food specialty from our respective countries. I chose to describe typical barbeque food and further explained that in San Francisco the specialty is clam chowder served in a sourdough bowl. Kathy Bates is from Maryland. She acted very perplexed by the concept of a bowl made of bread and dedicated so much time interrogating me about it that it took all my energy not to leap across the table and choke her. Trust me. This woman has eaten her fair share of spinich dip and clearly knows what a bread bowl is. I even did some research when I got home and found that restaurants in Maryland, including the University of Maryland's catering group, serves blue crab dip in bread bowls. Particularly funny considering blue crab was the specialty that she described for the class. I think I'll print out some of my research and bring it to my next class so I can shove it down her throat the next time she opens her mouth (literally).
Next, a Taiwanese student explained food from her country. She pronounced a word that sounded close to chat (cat). The teacher corrected her and asked her to repeat it. Kathy Bates, the comedienne, said “Well, maybe it is cat. She is from Taiwan.” Now I maybe would have said this when I was in elementary school in Orange County, or alone and drunk; but no, Kathy Bates says it out loud and then laughs a raspy laugh. She is hilarious after all; just ask her, she'll tell you.
About this student from Taiwan, she is really nice but the first few times I met her she couldn’t get over the fact that I had a job. She asked me how come I only attended classes twice a week. I explained that I worked full-time and it was all that I had time for. She said, but why do you work? I chalked this absurd question up to the language barrier. But then the next class she asked me the same question phrased somewhat differently.
Apparently money grows on trees in Taiwan. In which case, I’m wondering why in the heck we didn’t move to Taiwan first. Maybe if we had I could have picked up a money tree and brought it to France with me so I wouldn’t have to work and I could go to French classes five days a week and answer more stupid questions for her. Those French online courses are looking better and better. Okay, I’m going to hell (and bed). Good night (good morning)!
P.S. I've been kind of mean lately. Fred and I are going to plan a weekend trip soon so I'll have something nice to write about, I promise!