Wednesday, 24 April 2013


My day started badly. The internet still didn't work - more on that later - and I spent too long trying to fix it by unplugging it, staring hard at it, and then plugging it back in. That didn't work. It never works, but one day it will, and that will be the day I become "The Man With Laser Eyes."

It actually picked up once I got to work; it's roasting hot and I'm in a nice cool office by the window, which means I never overheat and simultaneously have absolutely no chance of seeing the screen as I am blinded by the glare. Today I was working on a mini-guide to help computer illiterate alumni connect to the network. I had done a French and an English version when my colleague mentioned that there were a couple of German people on the list, and would I mind rattling off a version in German quickly?

Give her her dues, she held a straight face remarkably well while I spluttered and reached for the words in French to convey how touched I was that she'd asked me and how utterly awful that same idea was. I must have been a ridiculous figure, and she finally relented and admitted she was joking. The rest of the day passed as always; another chapter to re-read (I keep thinking I've finished with that, and I keep getting more chapters. It's bizarre.) and more students coming and borrowing things. Hurrah! I'm going to work on a survey for other students as well and offer a prize to bribe them into doing it. I love bribes. I love anonymity too, anonymous surveys are absolutely the best. Anonymous everything: job applications, exam papers, feedback forms.

I think a 50€ Amazon voucher would be in the theme of things.

I also corrected a blog post by a student who was writing about an explosion (and who'd tried to make it light-hearted but instead had made it scarier, like a gorilla with an Uzi) that occurred in a petrochemicals plant in Carling, France. The students have to write in English, and I was struck once more by the curiously narrow band of errors all French students make. Missing articles and prepositions  and having real trouble with the third person singular ending -s. Is this common to all students, or only those for whom French is the langue maternelle? 

My afternoon was given over to T.F.I practice, which is getting fractionally better week-on-week. There's one other student who's leaping ahead of me, and being naturally competitive I keep having to remind myself that I'm not trying to beat her, I'm just trying to get a good score.

(I am definitely trying to beat her.)

Following the lesson I headed back to my little mediatheque, saved lots of little pochettes from the bin - I have big plans for those bad boys - and then went to La Défense, to recover my shoes, which I'd worn a hole in from tramping around Versailles. I should have gone to a concert tonight, but I discovered before leaving work that my ticket had fallen out of my pocket at some point during the day and, despite tearing the room apart, I couldn't find the thing. I can guarantee that when I go in tomorrow one of the cleaners will have found it and put it on my desk. You'll be able to hear the cry of anguish wherever you are.

There's a silver lining, though. I've got my room tidier, my washing up done, and my laundry freshly...laundered, I suppose. And, even better, I've got the window open and the sounds of a little town on the outskirts of Paris are drifting in like smoke.

Let's not let this ever end.

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