I just finished reading Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon. I’m sloooowly learning,via podcast, to speak French, which, if it truly is the language of love, I sound like a 40-year-old virgin reciting it. I even bought a copy of Paris Match to help me in my comprehension, figuring gossip is gossip–a truly international language.
Why French? Why now? Who knows! I’d been meaning to study Italian, but the farthest I got was learning the colors and numbers while playing Uno with my friend Uma. I suppose I could have studied French in high school. But I didn’t. No Spanish, either, even though I lived in Florida. Nope, while the uber-nerds fast-tracked for Ivy League glory were all learning Russian and Japanese, I studied German for three years along with the cybergeeks, ROTC kids, and the occasional burn-out chick. (There’s a fifty-fifty chance the every guy in that class has either become a computer programmer or serial killer. Time to check myspace!) Three years of Herr Hedrick, with acoustic guitar in hand, leading the class in a rousing version of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” auf deutsch. All those Aryan children in our outdated 1970’s textbook, lounging around the Black Forest or the Tiergarten in polyester, drinking spezis and carrying out impossibly oversimplified conversations so that we could grasp German grammar and all its many cases. But I digress.
Now, here I am, slowly grappling with French as Alexa, my disembodied podcast pedagogue, alternately dismissive and overly humble, leads me on. Wish me luck. Or should I say, bonne chance.