The Electric Choice

“So, I think we can fit you in for three weeks in March and April, yes?”  The woman at Alliance Francaise is sitting at a desk with her calendar out.  We have spent fifteen minutes comparing my schedule for the next three months with the school’s schedule of French classes.

“Yes, possibly more, I want to take classes for as long as possible,” I respond, sounding very much like a dedicated student.  “It is very important.”

“You know, really you should be speaking in French to me right now,” she responds.

“Then why are you speaking to me in ENGLISH, Frenchie-Trickster,” I want to scream but choose instead to give her a tight smile.

She continues.

“So, what is so important, why do you want to take French classes?  This is for work?  For school?”

“Because I was electrocuted and I like my eyebrows to be consistent.”

Rewind to one week earlier.

“Vous connaissez ce,” asks the esthetician, holding a glass wand in the air.

I am lying on my back on a massage table…mid-facial.

“Ah oui…”  I respond, looking at the wand.  This is the tool used in some facials to pass electrical current through the muscles in your face.  It is a procedure that I have endured before.

“Ah bon,” she says as she turns it on.

The wand starts snapping and I see the blue lightning bolts of current begin running through the glass just as she brings it to my face…with a much higher voltage than I am used to.

“Holy sh*t,” I think.  “This is a little intense.”

I try to figure out how to explain to her that I am fine with the treatment but that maybe we could use a slightly lower voltage.  However, my brain is not computing the sentence.  I race through my internal file cabinet of French words and can’t seem to be able to combine anything that would make a shred of sense.

“Wait…should I be tasting metal in my mouth?”

Nothing like a little mild electrocution to motivate you to go back to French school.

For months now, I have been looking at my schedule trying to sort out the time when I can go back and take a solid three months of French classes but something always seems to be in the way; I have too much work, or we have visitors coming in town, or a trip that has already been planned.  There is always a reason; but this is the last straw.  I have crooked eyebrows because I have been plucking them myself for the past year.  My skin is shamefully dirty because of my (apparently reasonable) fear of getting a facial without the correct language skills, and don’t even get me started on the state of my feet.

There are some things I can endure…like not knowing how to respond when a police officer asks you a question or having to have MB accompany me to the gynecologist; but dirty pores?!  JAMAIS!  I need to live in a world in which I can go and get hair waxed off my body without worrying about getting a third degree burn, a world where I can explain to my hairstylist that I hate short bangs, …a world where I can go and have a facial without fear of neurological damage!

And so…I am re-enlisting, for a better tomorrow!  A tomorrow in which I can choose to pay to be electrocuted at the exact voltage of my preference.



  1. Ha! As a French teacher I can say that motivation is the key to success… Whatever the motivation ;-). Also, you should just speak French right away to people even if it’s not perfect, they will probably appreciate the effort at least and it’ll help you learn much faster.



  2. AF lady could have phrased her sentence differently.. !
    I would like to take classes too, I’ll look into AF.

    Sorry to hear about your scary facial experience. That was like me at the hair salon the other week, except I wasn’t being electrocuted…



  3. Ooh, scary story! Yup, the gyne is a problem – ‘WHAT did you just ask me to do???’ I have thought a number of times. My vocab is now very good in very specific areas – I learnt ‘The Gym’ and ‘House Buying’ very quickly, and now specialise in Hospitals, Schools and Shopping. Wouldn’t it be great if language schools tailored a course specific to one person’s needs?



  4. Lol you are too funny! I think going the AF for some classes is a great idea! And I’m always happy to help if you want some practice 🙂

    Max used to have to come with me to my various appts at the beginning too. I remember one time he had to work though, and Pinch (my dog) had a vet appointment. I wanted to ask the vet about a flea treatment, but didn’t know the vocab, so to portray “fleas”, I ran my fingers up and down my arm then started scratching at it like a mad woman. Apparently I’m awesome at charades though because the vet got it right away 🙂

    Let’s all get together soon! xx



  5. Ha, ha, ha!!! Oh, what a story! Yes, nothing like getting electrocuted to motivate you to get going on those classes. Yes, the going to the doctor sans French husband is just not something I care to do yet even though I am sure I’d be able to manage it on my own. I just don’t want to sign up for something without knowing what or miss something critically important.

    Bonne chance with AF. I took lessons there for a while after uni and I loved it.



  6. Sadly, being English too, my husband isn’t much more use than me at the doctors’ or anywhere else for that matter! I just go along, speak garbled French and hope for the best!!! Luckily, I’m not into facials, so I don’t face the risk of being electrocuted…it sounds FAR too dangerous!



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