So when my husband and I decided to plan a trip to Europe, we agreed we probably needed to learn a little French so we wouldn’t look like complete morons in Paris.
I’m pretty sure we will still look like morons. If my husband’s behavior in New York City was any indicator, we will be thrown out of Paris in no time…or at least spit on.
We talked about doing the Rosetta Stone CDs, but they were expensive and we knew they would end up collecting dust in our cabinet, along with the Fit For Life guidebook and DVDs of Sweating to the Oldies.
We didn’t want to return to school in the classic sense, mostly because it’s expensive, and I feared if we returned to that environment, one of us wouldn’t be in the “cool kids’ club” and we might break up.
I wanted to avoid divorce, so we agreed to try a Continuing Education class through a local community college.
These courses are inexpensive and are geared towards working people (NOT working girls. That’s an entirely different group…).
Best of all, these classes don’t have tests or grades! Woo hoo! We thought it sounded perfect so we enrolled in Beginners’ French.
Last night was the first class. I had a long day at work and was a bit late coming home. When I arrived I found my husband noticeably nervous, although he pretended he was completely cool.
Looks like we know who would be the popular one.
He hurried us through dinner and said we needed to leave 45 minutes early, as we needed to go to the bookstore to buy the textbook. I objected to the 45 minutes early, as the college is approximately 2 miles from our house, and I didn’t think there would be a large line in the bookstore to purchase the book.
He disagreed, so I obliged with the early departure.
I grabbed my Punky Brewster Trapper Keeper and a box of pencils with my name on it and headed out the door. I didn’t have time to buy a new notebook but Matt told me he had it covered.
He proudly produced a notebook circa 1999 that had approximately 7 pieces of paper left in it and smelled like fruit roll ups. The fact that the pages were college ruled made me chuckle.
As we walked to the car, I glanced at my husband. Although I’m not entirely sure, I suspect he bought a new outfit for the class…kind of like new “school clothes.” Him and third graders everywhere.
I debated pointing this out to him and asking if his name was written inside the shirt, but since he was on a time crunch and irritable, I thought better of it. Of course, I made a comment about hoping class pictures weren’t that evening. He wasn’t amused.
We arrived at school and headed to the bookstore where I discovered my husband actually called ahead and had a textbook placed on hold for us. Seriously?! Did he really think they would run out?
As we stood there waiting for them to get the book from the back, we guessed how much the book would be. I suggested it would be about $80.00. We were both just hoping it was under $100.00.
The bookstore clerk returned from the back with a book the size of a cocktail napkin. Where was our textbook? Did he forget it in the back?
When I reminded him we were waiting for our textbook, he advised that the small book was our textbook. What?! It was an English to French dictionary! How was that a textbook? We thought about complaining until we realized the book was only $9.99.
Since we left ridiculously early, we had 30 minutes to kill waiting for class to start. We walked around campus in an effort to get ourselves reacquainted with the college experience.
It wasn’t long until I could almost taste the Natural Light bonged.
That feeling of not being prepared for class also crept in, immediately followed by the realization that I just didn’t care. Ahhh…I was home.
I also noticed I was very overdressed. I came from work and since my husband is a master time keeper, I didn’t have time to change. I felt very out of place in my dress when I realized most of the people around me were in pajama pants.
I was immediately irritated when I realized this is one of the few places in public I could go without a bra and no one would care. How could I have blown such an opportunity?
I looked around at some of my fellow classmates and noticed most of them were wearing things made only of 100% cotton. They all looked comfortable. One guy had to have been 35 and wearing blue pajama pants with polar bears on them.
We took our seats in class. We sat together, presumably so we could pass notes and doodle inappropriate sketches.
We were greeted by an old woman wearing reading glasses. Her hair was askew and her pants covered in chalk dust. She was my kind of lady.
The best part was her shirt. In honor of our first French class, she was sporting a shirt that had a picture of the Eiffel Tower on it and it said “Tour de Paris.” She dressed the part and was ready to teach!
She asked if we wanted a folder to keep our French papers. She fanned out different colored folders. I absolutely love free things, so I thanked her and grabbed a green folder. I was pumped about the swag!
Apparently she wasn’t done. She came back with stickers with French words on them like “Tres Bien” and “Bon Jour.” She said we could put stickers on my folder. Awesome. It was like a craft project at community college.
Here are my school supplies laid out before class started. Notice the French stickers on my free folder and our “textbook” that could fit in someone’s back pocket.
Before the class started I knew it would be amazing. And then it got better. I surveyed the room to get a good look at my fellow classmates.
There was a douche bag with the obligatory soul patch sitting in the front row.
His hideous hair and faux hawk alerted me to his douchiness, but his velvet sports jacket confirmed his status.
The fact that he was wearing the velvet jacket in a classroom that had to have been 80 degrees let me know that this guy was a moron.
I saw several old people, mostly women living out their last moments. And then I saw the obvious child molester.
He was covered from head to toe in black and sporting a black fanny pack. It was probably for all of his lollipops.
His long gray hair was in a ponytail with a pink ponytail holder…apparently he was in touch with his feminine side.
I tried to get a picture without being obvious but this is all I could get. I’m confident you will get the idea, although this picture doesn’t at all do his creepiness justice.
We began the class and our teacher told us she was a retired grade school teacher, which I could have figured out by the way she referred to herself in the third person and told us to let her know if we had to potty.
She told us if we wanted to get serious about learning French, we should commit ourselves to listening to French for at least 10 minutes a day. To help us with this task, she brought in several cassette tapes that we could borrow. Yes, cassette tapes.
I wanted to ask her if she had any Rick Astley or Milli Vanilli cassettes, but thought she might take offense.
She made us go around the room and say why we were taking the class. Several of us said because of travel, but one lady had a very distinct answer.
When it was time for the extremely geriatric woman to speak, she stated she was trying to learn French because it was on her “bucket list.”
Yes, she referred to her own death, which judging by her clear skin and laborious breath, could be any minute. The entire class got very silent as it got real. I considered asking the teacher to teach us how to say “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” in French, just as a precautionary measure, but then thought better of it.
We quickly moved on to the other class members and their names and reasons for attending. One gentleman, who sat a few seats down from me, said his name was Doyle, but we could call him Tony. Really?
At first I thought he was joking but the devil in his eyes told me otherwise. I quickly found something else to focus on and began perusing the syllabus.
I noticed our teacher included her email address on the document and couldn’t help but notice her address was ptcruiser678.
Not only could this woman speak French fluently, she also had a sweet ride.
We proceeded to learn numbers and letters in French, which I promptly mixed up with Spanish and became confused.
I began with “un” and then immediately jumped into Spanish and continued with “dos” and “tres.” The worst part was I didn’t realize I had switched to Spanish and was actually proud of myself for doing so well.
Doyle/Tony promptly reminded me I was speaking the wrong language.
The teacher didn’t call on me the rest of the class, either because she didn’t understand Spanish, or she didn’t want to anger Doyle/Tony anymore than genetics already had.
I left discouraged with a mind full of jumbled words and a sudden craving for a croissant.
Maybe we don’t need to go to Paris on our trip to Europe. London speaks English and it’s looking more and more desirable…