It must be morning, somewhere.
But not here.
Where I am. Here. Now. This place.
In your head ?
Word. You know – “you’re good, you’re fine.” WORD.
What does that mean?
I just told you. You’re good. You’re fine. Well said.
Mais qu’est-ce que tu as ? T’as oublié tes medicaments, toi ? Or are you doing some sorry-ass rendition of the old Abbott and Costello shtick?
Ta gueule ! And speak English. Everyone doesn’t understand.
Where – here? Now? This place?
Very funny. But you lost me. Or I lost myself. The three-ring circus in my head. Make that four-ring. The additional teenager in the house, speaking French. Elle est charmante d’ailleurs, but between the extra body and extra action and switching languages back and forth, I’m a little lost. Dépaysée. Disoriented. And talking to myself. In here. In French, then English, then French again.
Stop. All of you. Or find comprehensible words, not just « word » as a word to mean some other combination of words. What is that – this week’s latest adolescent language fad?
Exactly. But relax, c’est juste un mot.
Non ! JUSTEMENT ! Il faut « le mot juste » après tout !
It’s not just a word, it’s the right word. It’s always about the right word, then context. Then – beyond the internet or telephone, the expression with which it is delivered – the gesture, the tone of voice. The whole magilla.
Magilla? Wasn’t he a gorilla? Some cartoon epic a century ago that you baby busters used to watch?
That’s boomers. And get it right. Le mot juste. Granularity.
Granularity, I said. Diction. I’ll say it again: the right word, the right usage, the right context. Right brain.
Surely there isn’t a wrong brain?
Oh Jesus. Cut it out. Arrête. Tu me fais chier.
That’s not nice. At least say “tu me fais mal à la tête ” or something more civilized.
I’ll talk to myself any way I please… Yes, I said teenagers. Yes. I totally missed the morning. My morning writing. My start-the-day-right-and-get-it-out-of-my-system time. All this. All these… words.
But somewhere, it’s still morning. Just not here.
The “here” where you are in your head you mean?
Again, not funny. Okay, “amende” – “une sanction pénale prenant la forme d’une somme d’argent ” to be precise – a fine for a moving violation. PV is a traffic ticket. You really should spellcheck, pay attention to details, to subtleties. French is a language of subtleties.
Spellcheck is not a verb. You, the language nazi. And what were you talking about anyway?
I have no idea. I’m lost. But as for spellcheck and the parts of speech, remember – languages evolve. Usage is a living thing.
Uh huh. So “le mot juste” could change.
Exactly. But right now I wouldn’t know le mot juste from juste un mot. I’m beat. Beaten down. My “hands across the planet” approach to life has given way to hands across the kitchen table, requesting denominations in tens and twenties. Daily. It’s crazy. This daily plate of crazy needs to pass the collection plate. Ten to take the train. Twenty to go to the Aquarium. Ten more to stop for a bite. And tomorrow will be the same. And the day after? And next week?
Damn. That’s not good. Put your foot down. Put both feet down if you must. You’re broke.
I know I’m broke. They know I’m broke. But kids are kids and summer is summer. And yes, I’m more than a little strapped, along with half this country and probably most of the single parents. It’s a lifestyle; what can I say?
Just say no. Can’t you raffle those kids off ? Lease them as movie extras? They’re not too pimply for that. Or send the lot of them out to babysit, mow lawns, dig ditches, stack boxes at the five and ten. Something.
That sounds about right. Actually, my kid tried panhandling a few weeks back. With a friend who plays the violin. She’s quite good. They must’ve been an interesting pair. She played Mozart and he performed Chinese juggling. Diabolos. Can you imagine? And they didn’t even make a buck. Thus far, the only panhandling that’s working for my son is with me.
So I gather.
Yep. The hand came out this morning, like I’m le distributeur.
“I’m not Bank of America,” I said. “Better you should think of me as the National Debt.” Man. Order me a printing press. Where’s Gutenberg when you need him?
What? Guttenburg? What about Guttenburg? Is he making a comeback or something?
Johannes Gutenberg, not Steve Guttenburg. And no, not the Bible either. You know. The printing press. Gutenberg and the printing press were the Al Gore and Internet Revolution of the 15th century. But without the hype and political rhetoric.
Well, scratch that. Political rhetoric, yes. But it was the Reformation. Martin Luther. Another thing entirely. Okay. Maybe not so different from these days. Religious factions. Holy wars. A new information age and the world order a little discombobulated. You know. Déboussolé.
Reformation? Discombobulated new world order? Are you SURE you don’t need meds? You’re full of faux amis this morning.
Oh never mind. My bad. And forget the false friends. I shouldn’t have gone there with you. Or you. Or you… And you’re ALL really starting to bug me.
Punaise… This morning, you said? Isn’t it morning still? Here? Now?
Somewhere. Yes. It must be morning, somewhere. That moment of clarity. A fresh start, a clean stream of words. The quiet, even in here, in my head, whatever the language. Oui, l’aube, le petit matin. Maybe I can just pretend – que ce soit le mot juste ou juste un mot – je peux faire semblant. Sound like a plan?