I was 21 when France conducted what turned out to be its last nuclear 'test' at Moruroa in 1996, and I remember saying (with all the wisdom of a gangly-legged 21 year old): "No-one's gonna wanna learn French now," like that was the most important part of the whole ugly situation.
[When I first launched into that sentence I wrote "I was 11 when France conducted..." then I ran the numbers again and realised that I was in fact 21 at the time. I don't know what's worse: that I can't add up or that I was 21 when I made such a lame comment.]
Anyway, now that I'm older and heavily under the influence of cliches I must tell you I'm all hot and bothered (in a va-va-voom way) about France. I bought the corniest two-CD set today, Cafe De Paris: 50 Grands Succes Francais, which I think translates to If You Are Suffering From Brain Softening, Buy This Product. In my defense it only cost $10, but that aside, it's all part of a new project: I want to teach myself French.
I've always been put off learning a language because I have zero capacity for mimicry, but today (around the time I bought the CD) I thought maybe I could learn to read French and never have to utter a word. Sure it's a weird and isolating way to do it, but it might just work.
So of course I rushed home and pulled out the kids' French book my darling Mum gave me last time I had a wacky French language-related idea and came across this on page one:
This is my kind of learning! I was pretty sure I knew what "Waf! Waf!" meant, and absolutely positive I was on top of "Krwak!" having uttered it myself in similarly corn-ball situations. This language learning thing is going to be a breeze. I reckon I could skip straight to Les Miserables, provided it's illustrated.