I’m Your Worst Cauchemar

The construction seemed all too close this morning. Thank goodness I decided to get up before my alarm, much less before some of the loudest drilling I’ve ever heard in my entire life took place… I’m sure it’s in an apartment that borders ours in one way or another, but there was one instance of drilling that I’m sure would have caused me to wet my bed if I was still sleeping when it had started, so I was glad I was getting dressed when it happened. Shoot, I nearly wet myself anyway… It woke Sheila up, though. We had breakfast 15 minutes earlier than usual as a result. We got ready as usual, and Sheila made herself a sandwich for lunch. I thought about taking something with me, but decided against it for fear of touching anything in the kitchen any more than I had to. I spent most of my time in Sweet Briar’s library memorizing my monologue from L’Avare. The sun was beaming into the room from the windows, and it was making me uncomfortable, so I sat on the floor under the window, and partially under the table, which brought a little attention to myself in an odd way… both Mme. Mellado and Mme. Grée asked me if I was okay… I told them it wasn’t as hot on the floor as it was if I was sitting in the chair at the table since the sun was right in the window. I’m sure they still think I’m perfectly sane. The fact that every other grumbled sentence out of my mouth was “Au voleur! au voleur! a l’assassin! au meurtrier!” definitely solidified my mental state.

I didn’t really feel like going down to the vending machines to check to see if there was anything I could have for a snack/lunch. When we came into the building, I could tell they were starting to empty out with a brief glance, so I knew I was going to be stuck with an apple again. I decided to skip lunch and save myself the trouble. Joan came in after a while, so we talked for a bit. She has a class at creepy Paris III, so I told her I’d help her find it after my class with Mme. Mellado was over today.

Our class was pretty fun, and I didn’t do too poorly. I was sleepy for most of the class, not because it was boring, but because I was continually wasting so much energy on worrying about what was going to happen when I went home and had to deal with Madame… When you deal with normal verbs and pronouns, the pronoun always goes in front of the verb, and it’s always going to be the indirect pronouns (me, te, lui, nous, vous, leur). Thus, “Vous parlez à Marc?“Oui, je lui parle.” But be careful! If you’re dealing with reflexive verbs (pronominal en français), those pronouns are toniques (moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux, elles) and they go AFTER the verb. Thus, “Vous vous opposez à Marc?” “Oui, je m’oppose à lui.” Granted, these are just for dealing with people. There are also a few exceptions, meaning there are a few normal verbs that get pronoms toniques. They are: penser à quelqu’un (to think about someone), rever à quelqu’un (to dream/daydream about someone), songer à quelqu’un (to daydream about someone, but this is a classic verb), faire attention à quelqu’un (to pay attention to someone), and renoncer à quelqu’un (to renounce someone). The other lesson we went over I know pretty well. When you’re dealing with adjectives, they always go after the noun… almost always. In French, when the adjective goes in front of the noun, it’s called an adjectif antéposé. As people speaking English studying French, we use a mnemonic (fancy word that means “trick to help us remember things”) called either BAGS or BANGS, meaning Beauty, Age, Goodness, Size, or Beauty, Age, Numbers, Goodness, Size. With the BAGS/BANGS trick, any adjective that falls under those categories goes in front of the noun. That’s the easy part… but there’s one more thing we get to remember now… When you’re dealing with an adjectif antéposé, even if it’s plural, you drop the s in des so it becomes de. That’s what good French looks like, according to Mme. Mellado. So it’s not “Elle a des jolies chaussures” anymore! It’s supposed to be “Elle a de jolies chaussures.” Sneaky business… To wish someone “sweet dreams” in French, you tell someone to “faire de beau rève.” With all of the jokes we have regarding Joan and her cauchemars, I couldn’t help but wonder if Mme. Mellado was going to ask if anyone knew what the word for nightmare was… and then it happened. “Does anyone know how to say ‘nightmare’ in-” “CAUCHEMAR!” I spit it out because I was so excited, and scared the two girls sitting in front of me. “Oui, Claire? Tu sais le mot?” “Oui. Cauchemar…” So now there’s a joke in the class about me and my cauchemars. Cauchemar Claire. Kind of has a nice ring to it…

Joan needed to go to Sephora on the way to the metro since she was out of shampoo, and she figured I could use some retail therapy since I’ve been stressed out about Madame. I ended up buying two new Sephora brand nail polishes (since they were the cheapest ones around at just under five euro, everything else was over 10), and a three eyeshadow compact to cheer myself up. The cashier did the usual bit that they always do… but this one was a little different… “Do you have a Sephora card?” “Yes, but it’s an American one, and I don’t have it with me, does that work?” “No… it has to be a French one… would you like one?” “Oh, no thank you.” “You mean you’ll never come back to France?” “Oh I hope I will, but not just for Sephora!” “Your French is wonderful! That’ll be 24,20.” “Thank you.” That was all in French, and she never had to speak English to me once, definitely my high point of the day… Joan wasn’t as lucky. “If one more person starts speaking English to me mid-conversation… they die.” We found Paris III, and I headed home.

I was the first one back, so I took a quick shower, and read my monologue some more. I had my door shut instead of open as usual, hoping that would keep Madame from interrogating me. It didn’t… she knocked when she came home, but she seemed to be in good spirits. She asked me how the play was last night, and I told her that I loved it, but I could have done without all the rain coming home. She shut my door when she left the room (since that was how she found it), and I felt a lot better. After a while, dinner was ready. We had roasted chicken, some potatoes that resembled tater tots, but much cuter and a whole lot… Frencher… and green beans. We talked about the education system and how today’s parents aren’t parenting their kids (both here, and back in America) and how it’s a travesty. I had a portion of chicken that included the wing, and I was having a little trouble cutting around it. Madame picked on me a little for it, which didn’t surprise me. That’s how French humor goes, and after all, in America, we eat that part of the chicken with our hands, no wonder I didn’t know what to do! I asked her to show me how to cut that part of the chicken properly, so she did it for me. I hope I can get it right next time. I’m just glad I don’t mind being made fun of, since that probably would have brought me to my knees, especially in light of all that’s gone on between myself and Madame in the last few days. After dinner, while Sheila and I were cleaning our dishes, Madame disappeared and popped back into the kitchen to report that my room was  a pigsty and Sheila’s was in a cleaner state. I apologized and said that I had planned on cleaning my desk tonight, and hadn’t gotten around to it yet, but I would do it now. She also told me to empty my garbage bin, so I asked where I should empty it. Hooray, I’m asking how to do things. I straightened up my desk right away, and emptied my garbage. I’m not a neat person, really. My own mother would probably be impressed with how my room is here, she would have called it spotless before dinner. She’d call it someone else’s room now.

I’ve got my first “technical theatre” class tomorrow… at nine AM… which means breakfast is at seven… and the class isn’t over until 1 PM… gross…

Il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger. Molière: L’Avare

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