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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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The Tragic Case of the nanila Who Wasn't French. [20090131|16:38]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
I came up to Cambridge last night to see the bloke for the first time in two weeks. We met at Darwin College after the Darwin lecture for the pre-formal dinner drinks. It's always a bit awkward seeing him at these suit-and-tie events because of course we have to be decorous with one another when what I really want to do is unleash the week's worth of pent-up sexual energy on him immediately. So we have to make do with a lot of smoldering looks over the pate and fish knives.

I digress. I caught the train slightly later than usual, which made it challenging to find a seat as the London-Cambridge route is always rammed during rush hour. I finally found a seat near a family, who kindly squeezed over so I could have the outer seat. When I'd put my luggage and coat away, I turned to thank the matron next to me, who turned her carefully painted face and fur-swathed torso towards me to scrutinize me while she decided to accept my gratitude. Her son across from me said something I didn't quite catch.

"Pardon?" I asked, slightly breathlessly.
He repeated what he'd said. I shook my head, unable to understand.
"Are you English?" His English was heavily accented.
"No, American," I replied.
He looked mildly disappointed. "I thought you were French," he said.
"Really? Why?"
He got flustered. "Your dress*, and your accent is not English."
"Oh, I see," I said. I pulled out the novel I'm currently reading, which happens to be Emile Zola's Germinal.
"Zola!" the family exclaimed.
"But I have to read it in English because I don't speak French."
"Ahhh, in English," they said mournfully. Father shook his head. Mother turned herself again to give me one of her majestic looks. I could read it clearly. Poor little one, she should have been French. It is a pity. A terrible pity.

* I was wearing a white v-neck blouse, a flared knee-length grey wool skirt, silky black stockings and my black Irregular Choice heels. Also, my lovely black rose heart necklace from The Parlor.

[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2009-01-31 17:34 (UTC)
A French nanila would be impossible. It would violate all kinds of universal laws concerned with the conservation of hawtness. The entire galaxy would probably go nova and if it didn't, I would.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2009-01-31 22:32 (UTC)
Erm, seconded.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-02-03 21:27 (UTC)
Note to self: If you emigrate to France, it will be your fault and not the Large Hadron Collider's.
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[User Picture]From: smallfurry
2009-02-01 06:10 (UTC)
oddly, i've been asked if i was french before, too. they must have thought you looked too cool not to be french. :)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-02-02 10:04 (UTC)
I suspect the French think the French have a monopoly on the world's attractive women.
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[User Picture]From: 3_nic
2009-02-01 12:40 (UTC)
February the 12th is National Day of Mourning for Foreigners, in France.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-02-02 10:05 (UTC)
My mum's birthday! I'll have to tell her that; she'll be amused.
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[User Picture]From: senusert
2009-02-01 14:44 (UTC)
I can totally see you as being French. In fact, I consider it a small tragedy of the universe that you aren't. It would increase your powers of awesome.
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[User Picture]From: senusert
2009-02-01 15:03 (UTC)
But only a little bit!
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[User Picture]From: becala
2009-02-02 19:43 (UTC)
When I was in the third grade, I did a three-week exchange trip with a number 3rd-and-4th graders to Vanves, which is a suburb of Paris. Being one of the younger ones on the trip, and also a late bloomer socially, I felt quite left out during our last-day-going-away party. I went to the courtyard in the middle of the school and sat around looking sad. A teenage boy came up to me, skateboard in hand, and asked me in French why I looked so sad. Having learned French at that age, I understood his question fairly well, but did not have the vocabulary to answer such a complicated question. I struggled for a moment, and finally came up with the words to tell him, "I am American," which I meant to follow up with "and can't explain it to you because I don't speak French very well."

However, as soon as I told him that I was American, he put his hand on my shoulder, looked sorrowfully into my eyes, and said, "Je suis désolé."
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-02-03 21:30 (UTC)
That must have been during the Reagan years. Perhaps, someday soon, it will be okay to be American in Europe again - although I suspect it will never be as good as being French.
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