Saturday, February 12, 2005

Adventuers in Bleu

During the milquetoast era that passed for my teenage rebellion, I imagined that I would never become one of those nine-to-five yuppies. I don't recall being particulary certain what I was going to be, but based on my value system of the time, it probably involved hanging out at coffee shops smoking cloves with one chunk of hair dyed slightly more reddish than the rest of my auburn locks. (For her part, my partner-in-rebellion Clarissa decided to become a vegetarian for breakfast and lunch. Of course, she later upped the ante with piercings and tattoos, leaving me and my red chunk of hair woefully square.)

Flash forward some years ahead to tonight when I find myself blissfully strolling the aisles of Whole Foods with a baguette under one arm, a tub of fresh olives bobbing in their oil, some fresh olive oil for my vinaigrette, and a bottle of my favorite Syrah rounding out the night's dinner. Granted, this is hard to square with some of my other culinary pleasures, but nevertheless, I concede that this, along with my taste in Belgian beers, marks me with the Scarlet Y. Still! I am not the worst. Not by a long shot. Why, just when I was scanning the wine aisles tonight, I nearly bumped into an attractively attired young blonde yuppy woman and her well-mannered, multi-lingual offspring. Now, everbody always says that when they have kids, those damn kids are going to be taught multiple languages from birth, and then nobody does it or gives a damn between the diapers and the dinners and the screaming and the vomiting and the nosebleeds and the bruises, and oh, is that my birth control pill? May I have another?

Right. So, this little blonde darling of about 7 or 8 starting holding court in the wine aisle in French. The word bouche was in there which I think means mouth. His accent, to my yank ears, was impeccable. My God. What a child. I can just see the elite blue-state liberal paradise in which he is raised: he speaks languages, he plays multiple instruments, he sings like an angel, he is admirably athletic, no doubt. I'm sure he takes his extra allowance money and sends it to the IRS so they can put it to good use. Confirming my suspicions, he sings out to his mother, "Mom! I can speak four languages."

Oh, that little overprivileged little prince. Four, is it? Four? Well I heard some impressive French, and now it's clear that English is under your belt. What else you got, young master?

"You speak four languages?" asked Mom distractedly in that indulgent tone parents use when they're not paying attention.

"YES!" he confirmed. "I speak FRENCH and ENGLISH and MEXICAN and AFRICAN AMERICAN."

"Honey," she cooed. "You can't say you speak four languages and then say you speak English and African American. You can say you speak three languages and a dialect."

I wonder when she's going to break it to him about Mexican?


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