|Just about everything is open for interpretation. I say someone spilled some wine.|
If you slide on down to last Sunday (just below) you may remember we were in a serious discussion about what actually transpired when a “grandmotherly” woman handed a toy back to an infant in the arms of her mother and said, “Merci beaucoup.”
Your reactions were fascinating. One of you even suggested, which hadn’t occurred to me, to ask My-Reason-For-Living-In-France (MRFLIF) what he thought about the exchange.
As is his wont, he often sees situations completely differently from the way I do even if we are both present to witness an event. Since what transpired was hearsay for both of us, we were left to our own imaginations to interpret the meaning of the gesture.
Sometimes I ask myself: Is it because he’s an architect and sees the trees and the forest; is it because he’s so good in math that he gets carried away with examining minutiae, or does he simply like to annoy me?
His first question to me was: “Was the woman smiling when she said ‘merci beaucoup‘ to the child?”
“I have no idea.”
“Maybe it was a little humor,” he suggested.
“How’s that?” I reposted.
“Think of it this way, maybe the child’s toy fell at the feet of the woman and with humor she said merci as if the child were ‘giving’ her the toy. Did you ever think of that?”
“Of course I didn’t think of that; who would?”
At any rate he concluded, the woman was not trying to teach the baby a lesson. He saw it as something totally innocent.
|Men pour wine, women are apparently allowed to pour water.|
When I then — big mistake — explained to him that I used the incident to launch into how the French frequently correct me, and others, for everything from language to the finer points of etiquette like the cheese cutting and the fact that a woman never pours the wine at table, he said: “Why did you melange two subjects that have nothing to do with each other?”
I pointed out that I thought it made the post more interesting. He felt it made it more confusing. He also noted that “you always told me you like it when someone tells you about words and customs.”
That’s true. He can be so annoying.