It’s a well known fact that I have limited French-speaking capacity. And what I mean is, on any given day, I probably have about 2 hours max during which I can converse somewhat successfully. After that my brain starts oozing out of my ears and it’s all I can do to stare blankly into the faces of the people yapping around me.
So when I hopped in a cab this morning on my way to what promised to be at least a 2+ hour French-speaking cooking class, I knew that I needed to conserve my energy. So I avoided eye contact with the taxi driver and said the address as brusquely as possible. I tried to give off an unfriendly vibe. But opening your American-accented mouth in a Parisian taxi is akin to opening Pandora’s box – 95% of cab drivers will immediately want to know Where are you from? How long have you been here? How did you learn French? And why don’t Americans like Obama’s healthcare bill?
So there I was, stuck in the back of a taxi with a really nice man from Morocco, discussing international politics and the details of my family life in French. Most people would be slapping themselves a high-five, but all I kept thinking was SHUT UP! YOU’RE USING ALL OF MY FOREIGN LANGUAGE RESERVES!