11. Risky Business - William Matheson's Journal
May. 29th, 2011
12:51 pm - 11. Risky Business
Oh my God, here I am writing in English for the third time in as many days. This may be a bad sign.
Earlier this week when there was a bingo night, one of our residence mates won a copy of the Risk board game. Today we played it. I remember having a vague sense of dread when he won the game in the first place, and this dread was completely confirmed, in triple, when we started to play it.
It was a complete waste of hours. You know what it’s like when you play Risk with a bunch of opinionated blowhards who don’t know the fucking rules? Imagine the same, but at French Boot Camp. Also imagine occasional irritated bursts of English, the same forcing me to leave the room from time to time so as not to risk an official warning. And this was just for the setup phase.
We didn’t even finish the game. We got too tired and irritated, and it was already past 10 o’clock – the Château had already opened.
As for the party of the evening, it was the Louisianan party – the gumbo was okay, more impressive was the queue when they first brought it out around midnight. I’ve only ever had gumbo here, but I think I’m meant to infer that the definition is random animal parts served over rice. There was also a tasty bread-like pastry with chocolate filling.
I also learned never to imitate that a facilitator has spoken to you in English even if you’re sure as shit that she did. She only said, “Thank you, Will.”, and I’m sure she meant to repeat “Thank you very much, Will.” in French, but a bit of English just kind of slipped out, just like it does with everybody else*.
One thing I must consider though – I hear with my ears, but I listen with my brain. Furthermore, my long-term memories of what people say to me are in English. But there is a short-term buffer that caches the words, and for me it’s reasonably accurate when the words are recognizable. Memory ain’t nothing like a camera, though – I realize that. It’s possible that I was out to lunch on the item of her having spoken that teeny bit of English, and yet I believe that’s indeed what she spoke. Not that it really matters, but her response to my saying, jocularly, “In French!” was met with incredulity followed by “Certainly not!”. I might as well have accused her of being an axe murder. ;-p
* - Sometimes it’s not a matter of slipping out, though – sometimes it’s pushed out with a snowplow. It bugs the fuck out of me when people around me deliberately speak English when they just can’t be bothered to mentally compute the French. Okay, yeah, here I am writing in English, but it’s in my room with the door closed – and what I do in my room alone with the door closed is my business, rain or shine. I’m not breaking a rule by writing this (though I may be by posting it, but that’s another matter), and even if I were, I’m not putting other people at risk of getting an official warning. The behaviour of some people here is breathtakingly self-serving.
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