Tram B, where are you?


I am a lazy, lazy woman. I could have finished my analysis of a poem last night, but I decided not to. So I finished it this morning. Then I had to recopy it in better handwriting, and make sure that my grammatical errors were gone. I got to the second to the last page, and realized that I had to hotfoot it to class. On the tram, it takes about 20 minutes. I left at 10:05.


These days, in my internal franglais monologues (which have gotten more and more frequent), I have started using a new word, “frack.” It seems to be a relative of both “freakin'” and “fuck.” I suppose because I use both with some regularity at home, they are jarring when half my thoughts (or rather half my commentary) are in French. Why frack works in these situations, I don’t know. During my trip to Arles, when I was constantly getting lost, passing by the same monument 8,000 times (for which I apologize profoundly to Puppy Mama, whom I mocked for the same thing), frack became my constant companion.


I mention this, because frack was a big part of my thoughts today. For example, as I am hauling ass to the tram stop, generally unkempt, I see my one true love, M. La Poste, looking drop-dead gorgeous, as always.

Frack, I look like crap. I think to myself. Still, M. La Poste had a sexy smile and a “Bonjour” for me. Which is good, because I needed that for a good portion of the day.


I just miss the Tram B. Frack. However, I think to myself they run every 5 minutes this time of day. No big deal.


The announcement comes over the loudspeaker, “Due to technical difficulties, Tram A and Tram B are running behind schedule. Thank you for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience.




I see 2 Tram As pass by.




I see 2 Tram Bs going the other direction pass by.




It is now 10:30. Class starts at 10:30.




Finally, Tram B, the one I need stops. I get on, and 20 minutes later, I run into class.


Desolée. Il y a un problème avec les Tram Bs aujourd’hui.”


Apparently, I was not the only one who was late à cause de Tram B.


I make it through the lecture/discussion on Chateaubriand, and it is time to turn in our papers. I tack on the motley, unrevised final page to my clean, neat 4 previous pages. It is on to the Hall, to find out our results.


While waiting, I think about how much a want a panini from one of the sandwich places nearby. Do I have enough time? I don’t know. I hesitate too long, and then I don’t have time. Frack.


Then they post the results. I didn’t expect to be in the highest level or anything. But I am in the lowest level of those in our group. Sure, I am not alone. But it is a blow to my confidence. Because I know it is all on my speaking. Because I rock at writing (well, not rock, but I am better at writing in French), and with the exception of my arch-nemesis, the subjunctive, I am well-versed in grammar as well. While it isn’t like I suck (since everyone is in the intermediate level, and no one is in the advanced level), I have been struck with an existential crisis. How am I supposed to be accepted into a decent graduate program, if I’m only at the intermediate level for speaking? How am I supposed to get a TA position? How could I possibly be qualified? And then I start to think, “Has my French really improved since I’ve gotten here?” and, “How much improvement can I expect to make in 6 weeks?” And so on. You know, frack.


Don’t get me wrong, the class isn’t “Bonjour, Monsieur.” And we really aren’t going to work on grammar that much, because at our level, we really just need speaking and listening practice, according to the professor. But still. Frack.