Friday, May 25, 2012

Breaking the Bed in Paris, and Other Salacious Delights

I know you're all waiting for some delicious story of how Paul and I broke the bed in our little rental apartment in Paris.  . . .
Sadly, the mundane truth is that the bed was broken when we arrived. We didn't realize this until we rolled toward each other our first evening here. Not out of a Paris-induced romantic passion -- instead, from the sheer gravity pushing us from the mattress' supported edge toward its unsupported middle. Predictably, our Paris teeter-totter crashed heavily toward the concrete at this last insult, but it tipped skyward again when the ParisAddress office sent someone out to investigate the next morning in response to Paul's phone call. The very amiable and efficient handyman who came around did some serious tsk-tsking, and then got on the phone to order another one, assuring whomever was on the other end that it was absolument necessaire because this bed was complètement cassé.
And sure enough, while we were out for dinner with Parisian friends, the new bed was delivered, installed, made up, and we came home to sleep in comfort. Paris, je t'aime.


But I can give you a wee anecdote that combines the pleasure of another's embarrassment (mine!) with a hint (completely unintended, and the source of the embarrassment) of some bedroom hijinks. And let the keyword Googlers have a riot with  the post to boot -- my stats should soar . . . 


The story took shape during a lovely evening our Parisian friends arranged -- the goal was not only for us to catch up with them on our annual visit and to meet some of their friends, but also to help us practice our French in a conversational setting. Although all four of the Parisians at the table (in a restaurant I'll now include in my list of bons addresses for Paris -- I'll share that with you later) also spoke English,  less than ten sentences were spoken in that comfortable tongue the whole evening. I'm sure brain cells in a brightly-lit portion of my skull were both dying and being shocked into rebirth at an alarming rate. I tried to make sure my face conveyed some intelligence and liveliness as I did my very best to follow the conversation. Listening and understanding is much more difficult for me than speaking French, but every once in a while I would catch the drift for long enough that I'd even stick my own oar in, paddle for a while.


And at one point, while I was doing just that, our friend P. stopped to point out that I was not rolling an r quite enough. He teases a bit, and brushing away any defensiveness or embarrassment, I tried teasing back.


Here's part of an e-mail I sent to his wife J. the next morning when I retroactively heard what I might actually have said:


. woke up last night with the thundering realization that when I teased P. about how much I liked him correcting my grammar, I might have been using a verb with, ahem,  other implications. If I did, indeed, spend far too long telling him,  in effect, that it was okay to punish this very bad girl (Please,  please tell me "me corriger" is not a prime phrase in French porn flicks), you were all incredibly polite and I appreciate your restraint. You have my absolute permission to talk about this uncomfortable moment and to laugh as much as you wish . . . Paul certainly did, just at the possibility this might be so.(He's just popped his head around the corner to ask if I want him to spank me before we have breakfast -- trust a man to take advantage of an opportunity. . . )


And she wrote back that they had, indeed, had quite a giggle over my error, but she softened the blow by sharing another she'd made in her first year here . . . 


If you've made it this far, you've done enough reading for a week, and I promise more pretty pictures in the next post.  (better I didn't illustrate this one, though, wouldn't you agree?)

15 comments:

  1. Too funny! And seriously, will we ever rrreally rrrroll ourrr r's perfectly? It is rather like anglos correcting a French speaker's "th"s... Accents are fine with me, as long as I can get the drift.

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    1. Yes! This is exactly what I think -- I am not EVER going to roll my r's and I WILL speak French with an English accent. At least I'm trying to speak it -- and conveying a thought or two.

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  2. Haha! M. and I also broke a bed and we weren't do anything, but poor Bailey was frightened half to death. Also there is a phrase in Spanish that means I'm dead tired but one article added before the noun in the phrase and it changes to I've just gotten laid. I've made that mistake more than once. My embarrassment is apparently not enough to make me remember in the moment when to use the un and when not to.

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    1. That's hilarious! And to your interlocutors, it would explain why you look so "dead tired"! LOL. . .

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  3. It's always the subtleties, about language, isn't it? (I've made some similar double-entendre errors, one even on the blog during the early days; fortunately a reader was kind enough to email me and provide the correct word.) I'm glad you were able to get the bed fixed so quickly. Nothing can ruin a vacation like not being able to sleep!

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    1. It's an adventure, isn't it!
      and yes, sleep is so important -- I love being able to take my bed for granted . . .

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  4. One takes one's salacious as one finds it, implied or actual:). Although, what with this 50 Shades of Grey fervor in the US, I have to confess to not understanding that particular genre.

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    1. There's been such a fuss about those books, but nothing I've read so far has made me want to pick up a copy. Of course, e-readers have obviated the need for the brown paper covers . . .

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  5. bwaahahah, good one mom! My face would be so red and sweaty the moment I realized my error :)
    good news though that the bed was all set up for you so promptly. I too have a bed breaking story with my husband...but may be best left for less sensitive ears than my own mothers!..."me corriger"

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    1. covering my delicate maternal ears now . . . ;-)

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  6. So funny! I'm glad you and your friends have such a great sense of humor.

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    1. Yes, it's good one can laugh at these things. Thanks for all the comments you've left on past posts, Susan, although I won't manage to reply to each. Congratulations on getting accepted into grad school!

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  7. OMG - that is HILARIOUS! You know what, I'm sure they are nothing but impressed, in the final analysis, that you chose to speak their language (for the entire evening). Think of all the times you've dined with English as a second language speakers. Often there are gaffes - but we don't give them a second thought.

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    1. Yes, I'll just have to think of it as my conversational contribution to the evening -- or as a sacrificial offering to the language gods . . . It was just so painful/funny bolting up in the night to remember what I'd said -- and to remember learning, earlier, why that verb didn't work the way I tended to use it . . .

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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