I speak photo-French, which means I can give a variety of commands directing a person into any number of positions and poses — and then ask them, “how would you like to pay for that.” French that is not likely to be of use to me anywhere outside of Club Med or the Paris red light district.
And while I UNDERSTAND much of what people are asking and saying to me, I simply haven’t the vocabulary to respond. 50% of the time my response to French questions is “oui” (pronounced “we”) — which means “yes.” And the other 50% of the time my response is “ouais” (pronounced “whey”) — which means “yeah.” And for some reason, 90% of the time, the questioning Frenchie smiles, nods and walks away *seemingly* content. I, confident that my ruse has not been revealed, am similarly content.
But alas, sometimes the fake frenchie is foiled.
Yesterday, as often happens, a mini-frenchie of about seven years of age came up to me and tugged on my pant leg and rattled off a series of “coma la ley loo, la ley lou voo” questions to which I patted her on the head, gave her a confident smile and continuously answered each question with “ouais” or “oui.”
“Oh la la!” she pronounced and bounced off about her business, as I did mine.
Ten minutes later, the little French fry returned followed by a small crowd of French parental figures and a long line of questions, of which, even I, in my limited knowledge of the language, recognized as anything but “photo” related.
I tried out “oui ” a couple of times.
And then I tried out “ouais” a few times.
And exhausting my options, I finally sighed, and asked the group if anyone spoke English.
“Uh zittle bit, yes. My daughter…zee zays that you zold her that you are zee famous actress. That you have been in many movie. Iz diez true? Zhe zays zou told her all zhis.”
My explanation of myself was so disgraceful, I need not even describe it here, except to maybe note that more than one French nose was turned up at me.
Aw well. I guess it’s a good thing I’m out of here next week and on to countries where I won’t be so easily recognized as the famous French actress that I am. 🙂
And speaking of my Spanish Expedition…it has evolved!
After arrival and exploration of Madrid, I will be re-locating to Sevilla — where the sun is shining strongest on Spain at this time of year. And in May, I have decided to take the one month pilgrimage walking across Northern Spain known as “El Camino de Santiago.” More details coming, as they are discovered….