The excuses pile up like dirty washing during a rainy spell. I’ve been here before. What is it called – déjà vu? Trust the French to have an exotic name for a common occurrence. Mind you, most things in French sound exotic. Even the word for ‘shit’ – ‘merde’ – doesn’t sound too bad; ‘pomme de terre bouillie’ – boiled potato.
I’ve found a French pen pal. Well, that’s what we used to call them. I suppose now it should be an E-pal. My high school French is useless for translating and I find myself resorting to Google translate to get the gist of the conversation. The problems arise when the translation is so literal. For example … “Pense tres fort à toi mon ami” – translates as … “Think you very much to my friend.” Mmmm … And … “I love our little chats”, becomes, “I love our little kittens.”
So, I communicate roughly in French and English, and she communicates almost fluidly in English and oh, so beautifully in French. The Australian slanguage cannot compete with liquid lyricism of the Gallic word form.
I’ve also found a very dear school friend with whom I lost touch about thirty years ago. We were absolute best friends from kindergarten through high school. We’d spend all day together at school and then ring each other as soon as we reached home. Although, by today’s standards that’s probably pretty tame. With mobile phones and text messages the youth are constantly in touch – for better or worse. How do you share so much of life together and then mislay it all? She has sent me some old photos, and of course the deluge of memories almost submerge me. I feel as though I’m relearning a foreign language. It might as well be French. J’ai oublié tellement. I have forgotten so much.
Which brings me back to my original thought – excuses.
Too hot. Too cold. Too wet. Too dry. Too windy. Toot toot …
My unfinished stories eye me from the file manager.
“We know you’re there”. They taunt me.
“I don’t have time”, I tell them.
Well, I do have time now, so where are you? I’ve looked in the garden, pulling out weeds as I go. I’ve looked in the ironing basket, pressing wrinkled, neglected items of clothing during the process. I’ve looked in the plastics drawer – they could be there actually because I closed it as quickly as I could before anything could escape. I’ve looked in the car as I vacuumed out the detritus of young cricket players given lifts home. I’ve looked on Facebook and stalked my friends. I’ve looked on Ebay and found some great bargains. I’ve looked in my head and the stillness was ear-splitting. The coffee machine gives me no answers – but a very potable drink.
So I sit here in front of you all – une fraude. I will pretend to be a writer and hope some talent will stick to me as I participate and listen to the adroit compositions of my companions. Maybe next time, I will dazzle all with my literary talent, found amongst the horse manure, which is literally expressed daily with ease about the open ground.