Friday, September 21, 2007

I was sitting on a bench in the park talking to my brother on Skype. Skype is great, it allows you to see people while you talk to them on the computer and, get this, it’s free. Anyway I’m talking to my brother who lives in the 16th arrondisement of Paris. If you were French you would know this because that’s all he can say in French “Bonjour- J’ habite a le seizieme” (Hello, I live in the 16th) I keep telling him to spread out it a little- don’t say it all in one blurt but does he listen? So I’m talking to my brother and this old French guy walks by and stares at me while I’m talking to my computer- obviously I look like a lunatic. He slowly walks over and stands behind me and looks at Sean as I talk.

“Mon Frere” I say, pointing to my brother. I often bust out some French because that’s how I roll.

“He resembles you” the old French guy responds. He really could have said anything but that’s what I think he said.

“Oui oui” I said, smacking him upside the head with some more French because it’s what I do- it’s who I am.

There is an uncomfortable silence as the French man stares at the moniter waiting for something to happen.

From the computer, in stilted French, we hear.

“Bonjour- J’ habite a le seizieme”

The man looks a little confused so my brother, the floating head on my laptop, repeats himself.

“Bonjour- J’ habite a le seizieme”

The French man, perhaps his name is Pierre, furrows his brow and says what I presume to be, “Your brother is a ‘tard, no?”

“Oui oui” I responded shaking my head sadly, glad to finally have some adult conversation.

“Your poor mother” he says.

“Oui Oui, my poor mother.”

As you can see this man was full of compassion regarding the strain my brother has put on our family. When you hear someone badmouthing the French by calling them “uncaring” or “unfeeling” pass along this little story. Don’t forget to say a little prayer for my brother. If God asks “which brother?” tell him “the one in the 16th.”

(Update: my sister-in-law informed me that they actually live in the's worse than I thought)


Panic in New York said...

Just to set the record straight i actually said to the man in perfect French, "Help! my brother keeps me in a box on his lap in the park, hey old man Frenchie go for help and quit talking about my mom"

LDP said...

If I ever visit Paris, I'll use the phrase, "old man Frenchie" whenever I meet the natives. They'll like me, they'll really like me.

William Comparetto said...

That's a funny story.

dryanna said...

Actually, because my man tends to attract weirdos (seems to run in the family), I instructed him to tell people we live in the seizieme to throw them off our scent.

Alisa said...

Matt, I think it is very very well written. Good style. Familiar brevity too... :)))

lansky said...