Elyse Sewell (elysesewell) wrote,
Elyse Sewell


OK, being forced to communicate in a language that's not one's mother tongue can be a huge burden on the brain. I get it. In high school, I was a cashier at a Mexican fast-food restaurant (not Taco Bell; Albuquerqueans, I'm talking about the Frontier), and I always felt a pang of dread when a customer came up and started delivering his order in Spanish, even though I was capable of understanding and replying. In Paris, I've been making a mighty effort to grope around in my tiny box of mots and perform my conversatin' in moronic, butchered French, but sometimes it's not even worth it. Example: trying to buy "three" pieces of licorice, accidentally saying "tres" (Spanish) instead of "trois," and ending up with thirteen (treize) pieces of licorice before I even realized what had happened. Damn. The "Charades" or "Just Speak English Really Loudly" methods of communicating would have been so much more effective in that situation, and I could have avoided thirteen-pieces-of-licorice-induced nausea.

On the other hand, I've met French people who (stereotype!) pretend not to speak or understand a word of English even though I'm positive that they do. I worked with an Australian photographer who tried to give English instructions to a French makeup artist on a job. The girl threw up her hands and regretfully exclaimed, "Je parle francaise!" (that's French for "I don't speak English"), and voilà, the makeup artist got to coast for the entire day without having to summon up her long-buried English 101 skills. Whatever! It's her prerogative. Maybe I'm just feeling lenient because I did the same damn thing at my job today. Yeah, I could have remained on Le Linguistic Alert and responded to the photographer telling me, "Regardez-moi," but because I pretended not to understand, I was able to spend my spare mental energy on fantasizing about playing Rampage while the photographer had to grope for the phrase "Look at the camera." Oh, and I was able to enjoy such mangled English directions as "Close your mons" (ie, "Close your mouth"). Ha!

In other news, and I'm definitely not talking about myself here, my...friend contracted a bladder infection last week. When...she finally succumbed to the waves of pain, and accepted the inevitability of seeing a doctor, and made an urgent appointment with the only urologue available in the vicinity of the suburb where...she was working, she found to her utter dismay that the bastard was a "Je parle francaise" type. Now, are you fucking kidding me...um, her? At a Parisian fashion shoot, the makeup artist is totally allowed not to make the effort to communicate in English. At a fashion shoot, everyone inherently understands the objective, and nobody cares if everybody is gabbling in mutually incomprehensible Pig Latin because we're performing the least essential "work" on the planet. But a DOCTOR? With a wretched waif all embarrassed and suffering in front of him, peeing corkscrews, with a red-hot mace rolling around in her pelvis, and he's really going to refuse to understand the word "infection," and he's going to make her say, "Um, j'ai, um, j'ai malade de pipi"? MALADE DE PIPI!

Well, I said that shit. I mean, my friend said it. "Malade de pipi," dammit. But the upshot is, she got the antibiotics, the infection is gone, and in retrospect she's actually kind of proud of her "J'ai malade de pipi" skillz and is considering bragging about them on her Livejournal. The end!

What is the purpose of this photograph? Nothin'. I didn't even take it, my boyfriend did. But look at what a great outfit I'm wearing! Does that distract you from the thought that my blads was aswim in appalling bacterial pustulence when this picture was taken? OK, I admit it. The protagonist of that bladder infection story was me all along. Check out my great outfit though.

I might never get around to making a real Livejournal entry about my trip to Germany last month, so here's a picture of the #1 thing I ate there, the backfisch sandwich. Fried fish filet, horseradish, lettuce, and fresh dill, served atop a German newspaper on the train from Hamburg to Köln. Mmm, classy. I wish I had one right now.

And the #1 thing I didn't eat there. Barf.

And this Belgian chocolate bar is my final thought for the evening. Good night!

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