Thursday, 3 January 2013

Tampons, and other false friends

I have never needed to ask for a tampon. It is not a source of pride, nor is it something I feel has been particularly missing in my life. It's simply something that I have never had any need to do. Nor, in fact, have I ever been asked for a tampon. My rough cheeks and gentlemanly manner have apparently notified anyone who needed one that I was a tampon-free-zone.

Imagine my surprise, then, when my colleague asked me if I had le tampon. My brain promptly melted out of my ears. Did she mean un tampon? Had my gentlemanly manner deserted me? Had my smoothly shaven cheeks given her the slip?

My mind rebelled at the very thought. I recovered (manfully) and managed to ask for clarification.

"Le tampon," she repeated. She pointed in the direction of my desk, and then made a stamping motion.

This was sufficient for me to realise, in a sudden rush, that un tampon is also a stamp. Not the kind you stick to letters, but the kind with a pad of ink (which was used before we had the one you stick, explaining why we use the same word. English is essentially very lazy.)

I handed it over with relief. She gave me a very strange look.

The rest of the day passed without great incident; I finished typing up the comments from student evaluation forms - I'm getting very good at typing in French on a French keyboard but consequently have a weird five minutes when I get home and q is in a's place and some silly person has swapped the m key with the colon/semi-colon. And a full stop is now easily accessible, whilst on a French keyboard one needs to first apply the shift key. Utter mental confusion reigns.

And of course when I go in tomorrow, the opposite will happen, and I shall seethe for several minutes as I try to work out who put my w on the bottom row and why the @ symbol has been shifted to the other side of the keyboard. Occupying two brain spaces is quite difficult, but we shall overcome.

And, best of all, my private lessons restart this weekend. Really excited to see the students again. Especially because the one I help with homework got an A+ for the projects we were working on. Seriously chuffed. 95%, get in.

It's only half past six, and my mother bought me a crêpe pan for Christmas. Let's hope I don't make a total pig's ear of this...

Pig's ear, by the way, is cockney rhyming slang for beer. Likewise tiddley wink means drink. That's why in England people sometimes get a bit tiddley, meaning drunk.

People in Scotland don't get tiddley. They just get drunk.