Tuesday, January 22, 2008

C'est la guerre...

My parents were never those Type A high-pressure parents who demanded I get straight A's in school. They were the sympathetic, kind type who said, "As long as you do your best, the grade doesn't matter." Of course, this kindness was wasted on me since "do your best" translated into my head as "leave your books in your car or in your locker as long as you don't get an F." My high school career was spent thusly (and not necessarily in this order): 1) thinking about clothes/hair/makeup; 2) thinking about boys 3) figuring out ways to cut class and go to 7-11 on Main Street or Northside Park; 4) reading; 5) getting kicked out of the library, both at school and the public library; 6) procrastinating; 7) listening to Duran Duran and Phil Collins on my Sony Walkman, 8) talking on the phone; 9) looking at Seventeen magazine; and 10) cutting pictures of Huey Lewis out of Tiger Beat, Rolling Stone, and other illustrious music sources and figuring out ways to tack them up in my room without damaging the wallpaper and having my dad yell at me. There were other various activities in the same vein, but you get the gist.

In between my heavily demanding courseload of Independent Living, Speedwriting, and American Government, I took five years of French (the first year in junior high--amazingly, I wasn't in high school for five years). French was fun inasmuch as any class was fun for me--I liked picking up useful little phrases, meandering my way through "The Count of Monte Cristo," and not doing my homework. My friend Julie and I spent a good portion of our time writing and passing notes to each other (that could be added as another major activity to the list above), and somewhere in boxes we've kept old high school notes for posterity. It's astonishing how many of them (both of ours) contain the words, "I didn't do my French homework, did you?" (why we continued to ask each other when the answer was obviously "no" I'll never know). Our teacher, Madame Erven, would walk up and down the aisles checking homework, and would look at us sadly whenever she saw our empty notebooks. And if it was on a Monday, she would inquire reprovingly, "Le bon weekend?" which never failed to reduce us to giggles.

So, it might surprise you to learn that Lucy's teacher, having somehow gotten wind of the fact that I had taken five years of French, asked me to be the Mystery Guest in class this week. All of January, the class is learning about France. Despite my reputation for procrastination and underachievement, my desire to make Lucy proud and maintain my status in her eyes as Best Mom Ever won out, and I had great things planned. I was going to teach the children many of the words they think they know in English but are really French, such as art, blonde, ballet, restaurant, etc. (Don't think I wasn't tempted to discuss "aperitif" and "agent provocateur," but I resisted). And my coup de grace? I was bringing in a popular snack little French boys and girls have after school (so I hear)--French bread with chocolate bars on top. I was even wearing my Paris shirt with the Eiffel Tower on it.

Oh, mes amies, it would have been tres magnifique. However, when I went to drop Lucy off, the school parking lot was deserted. No cars. No children. No school today. Apparently that six inches of snow we had in the night had an impact on the school system. And...Mystery Guests are only once a month on a Tuesday! I'd already procrastinated until January, even though Lucy asks me almost weekly when I'm going to be the guest. Now I have to think up something new and fabulous for a later date. Quel horreur. (And as we drove away, Lucy was almost in tears and said, "I just hate it when there isn't any school!" Could this possibly be my child? She must get that from her father.)

Oh well, in the immortal words of Robbie Neville, "C'est la vie."

Edited to add: Lucy's teacher called me this afternoon. She wants to reschedule me to Thursday! Who knew pre-school was so flexible?


Ann-Marie said...

Umm...not to go all Hollywood on you, BUT I believe those great words are attributed to a little lady named Doris Day who put them memorably to song. Um, hum. Pretty sure.

Ann-Marie said...

And your high school experience sounds a heck of a lot more fun than mine. I was SUCH a studious, follow-the-rules, goody-two-shoes.

Came back to bite me later though, didn't it?

Alice said...

I thought that was Que Sera-sera? And obviously, you are not a fan of 80s music. How sad for you... :-)

Juliet said...

I know that you will do a GREAT job at school on Thursday.

Several of my sisters took French in high school..as you can tell from my blog..I need all the help with my English.:0) I did learn the french word for shut-up but wouldn't know how to type it.(fair ma la bush..HA HA HA)

My sister, Linda, who married a Frenchmen and lives in France, gave me two beautiful cups..one has moi aussi on it and the other cup has je taime on it. Je taime means I love you...I think.

At any rate, I know very little French.

Ann-Marie said...

Oh yeah right...that was it. Duh! Shows how much French I know! Oh, and not to go all "young" on you, but I'm a child of the 90's. My husband is nine years older and a HUGE 80's fanatic.