Wednesday, September 15


Usually I'm the kind of person who always wants to know what's going on. If I walk into a room in the middle of a conversation, I have to butt in to find out what's going on. But lately I've gotten used to having no clue what's happening most of the time.

Everyone in my office speaks French, maybe not as a first language, but well enough to use it almost all the time if need be. I live in a tiny village in France where not many people speak English, or at least not to me. And the guy I share an apartment with speaks French, Italian, Arabic, and Turkish, but only a little bit of English. So our exchanges consist of things like:

Me: Ou est les ordures? (Where is the garbage?)
Him: (He points at the garbage bag and says something that includes ici, here.)

Then I realize that I wanted to say where do you take the garbage for collection. But I don't know how to say this, so I decide to look it up later, which I forget to do. Then I decide that next time he takes it out, I should tag along and see where it goes. That way, without learning any French, I learned within a couple of days where the garbage goes. To my surprise, in a little room next to our apartment where I can park my bike, there's a little chute that you toss the garbage down. Voila!

But the most confusing thing that's happened lately was when I was playing my housemate's Playstation. He tells me what to do while I'm playing, like "Tire! Tire!" which, when the level is over and I look it up in my dictionary, which I've taken to keeping on the coffee table, means "Shoot! Shoot!" But then a couple days ago while I was playing, the game froze. He jumped up and popped out the disc and then took into into the kitchen, where he smeared on the disc the old, wet coffee grounds from the morning. He dabbed the grounds around with his finger to get a somewhat even coating, and then wiped them off with a dry paper towel--wiping parallel to the rim, the best way to put scratches in your disc that will make it skip worse.

I have no idea--and after sleeping on it, still have no idea--why he smeared coffee grounds all over it. Later I looked at the disc and it was streaked with dried coffee juice. I recleaned it, but the game still hangs. I started playing his other James Bond game, which turns out to better overall. Although, the first one was better in that it let me choose English for the game, so during the long cinematic parts between levels, I can understand what's going on. The other game only gives me choices between French and German, and of course I choose French. Then I just feel like I do the rest of the time, and when Q, the scientist who invents all kinds of gadgets for Bond, I have no clue what he's told me and just randomly mash the buttons to figure it out.


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