Friday, June 19, 2009

Uniquely Quebec, Part 2

Let me tell you a story.  Fiction of course!

Emilie and Anne grew up together and have remained close friends.  They agree to meet for coffee.  Anne, knowing that Emilie is always late, sets the meeting time for 2:00 pm, knowing that Emilie will show up an hour late - that is, 3:00 pm.

Anne walks to the café slowly and arrives at 3:05 pm, hoping that Emilie would already be waiting.

No Emilie.  It's 3:30 pm and Anne's getting impatient.  At 3:40 pm, Emilie shows up, huffing and puffing and complaining that the metro got stuck a few times.  Anne says, "but you're one hour and 40 minutes late.  I've been waiting since 2:00 pm."  A white lie between friends never hurts.

Emilie hugs her friend.  I'm sorry, she says, j'étais dans la lune aujourd'hui, comme d'habitude.  Je ne sais pas pourquoi (I was in the clouds today, daydreaming as usual. I don't know why).

They order their espressos and the conversation gets animated.

Anne asks about Emilie's kid sister. Ah, Erica, pauvre elle.  Elle est maganée cette semaine, elle travail trop  (ah, poor Erica.  She's worn out this week, she works too hard)!

The café is known for its home made country bread.  Anne asks the waitress if there is any country bread left.  PantouteThe waitress said apologetically.

Emilie frowns, suddenly remembering that her tax returns are overdue.  Anne suggests she lets a tax preparer do it.  Emilie says her accountant does it for her every year but for some reason, this year, "il est dans les patates avec ses comptes et ses clients."  (He's got his accounts and clients all mixed up, he doesn't know what he's doing).

Dating anyone these days, Anne?  Emilie eyes her friend closely.  Anne nods her head and starts to giggle.  "Il est beau, mais il est habilé comme la chienne à Jacques!"  (He's handsome Emilie, but he dresses like Jacques' dog -  meaning he's got no fashion sense).

They both laugh.  It's Anne's turn to ask a personal question.  What about you, Emilie, still dating Mr. Gym?  Emilie's boyfriend works out in a gym 7 days a week.  She tells Anne that she's thinking of breaking up with him.

Anne is surprised.  She thought Mr. Gym and Emilie were made for each other.  Ah boff, je suis tannée.  Il a une faim de loup et mon frigo est toujours vide (shoot, I'm fed up.  He's got a huge appetite and my fridge is always empty.)

Hope you liked the conversation.  Which reminds me, it's summer time.  That means the cafes and terraces in Montreal will come alive and there'll be a lot of girlfriends and boyfriends mingling, sipping Sangrias and Quebec's famous ice wine, and...speaking the French they cherish!




  1. I like your story, as it really grasp how a typical afternoon in a café here in Montreal feels (well, at least, sounds) like.

    I'd like to point out something, though. The sentence: ``[...] Elle est maganée cette semaine, elle travail trop'' should read ``Elle est maganée cette semaine, elle travaille trop''.

    `Travail' is how the noun is spelled, while the verb should here be written `elle travaille'. But hey, y'a rien là pour écrire à sa mère (it's not such a big deal), as even many of us french speakers (writers?) make that mistake!

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you Michel for that correction. I appreciate it. Quand je fais le dactylographie, parfois mex yeux ne fonctionnent pas aussi bien.
    Merci de votre commentaire!