i was fourteen the summer i decided to get a crew cut – sever all that weird squiggling stuff away – and lop off with it the click betrayals of middle school, hearing “mushroom head” called across the pavement as i walked home — i was moving on to high school, and i was doing it with as little weight to carry as possible – no click to whom to report the first day details, no untenable mass of strands from which to hang new insults.
and so, it was with my hair shorn that i began my first classes ever in the french language – freshman year – a fairly small group in a room that i remember darkened (perhaps the instructor didn’t like to turn the lights on…)
we did group work with our “copain/copine” – which i always thought was the strangest set of words. perhaps because both words evoked, particularly in the not-very-french-accent of our instructor, a shared discomfort – co-pain, co-pine…
it wasn’t until the following year, in a room where the lights were regularly on, with the instructor who would become my french teacher not only for the next three years, but as a point of reference for years to come, that i met dr. and mrs. vandertramp – a lovely couple whose single aim in life is to remind students of a particular grammatical rule involving auxiliary verbs.
(if you are under the impression that i just pulled that list out of my brain, you are only 33% correct… of course, when i SAW the list again, i remembered straight away :])
this morning, my hair so much longer than usual that the subject keeps coming up with old friends who are surprised by the recent photos they see on facebook, i see my roommate in the hall –
C’était super tard hier soir quand tu… ES revenue!
the doctor & the missus, like the good-seeing-ghosts-of-grandparents-gone-by, were there behind me, pushing me right to where i needed to go…