Thursday, November 22, 2012

In Search of Lost Time: A Year of Mercury Retrograde

Unlike most Scorpios, I'm glad when people know that I am one. That way, they know who they're dealing with. I kind of wish we all wore sun sign name tags or something...not because every [insert sign here] is the same, but at least so that we'd have a place to start, you know?

When I lived in France, I was in full, intense Scorpio mode, culturally speaking. I was completely immersed in the language and how French people live, work, and play. I was still American, of course, but it was shoved aside; at the Institute and at home, I spoke French, and English made the occasional appearance with classmates, usually after hours. That was the point in being there, so Scorpio sun really helped me out, as did my Mercury in Scorpio (ruling communication matters).  

Nantes was my opportunity to make significant progress in French, even though I already spoke very well before I left the US. It worked; my writing got tons better that year, as did my ability to think on my feet and adapt in another language.French became automatic; I need to "get back in the bathtub", sure...but I know I'll never forget the language, even if it gets a little rusty, which mine has, to be sure. 

As much as I loved it, some days it felt like the whole world was in Mercury retrograde: You tried to get your ideas across and it worked for the most part, but often conversations or interactions would go in directions you didn't expect. Situations came up that you weren't linguistically prepared for and you had to punt, like when I found a burned-out light bulb. I didn't know the word for bulb so I had to say "This thing over here is burned out." At least I learned quickly. :)

Anyway, one night around Christmas, I was headed out the door when I passed my French mother, Marie-Claire. The conversation was in French, but I've put the English in brackets. 

Me: Je vais à la guerre. [I'm going off to war.]

MC: Non. [No.]

Me: Je vais à la guerre. [I'm going off to war.] (This second time I said it with more feeling.)

MC: (Slowly shaking head) Il n’y a pas de guerre à Nantes. [There is no war in Nantes.]

Me: Si si. Il y en a une ! [Yes, there is!]

I go on to describe where the war is in fulsome detail: How I'm going to take this bus line over to the number 12 line, how the war is near the Botanical Gardens, etc. I'm getting irritated because I've never had a problem communicating with this woman before now--I've been living in her home for two months--and I'm wondering why she insists there is no fucking war in Nantes. I'm thinking, "Look, lady, you must be out of your mind!" Of course, she still keeps gently insisting that there is no war, repeating it, like I've made some kind of mistake. 

Then the piano drops on my head.

MC: Peut-être tu veux gare? [Maybe you mean...the train station?]

A pause in the conversation occurs as I try to think my way out of this one. Of course "the train station" is what I've been saying all along...right?

Me: J’ai pas dit ça ? [I didn't say that?]

MC: Non. [Nope.]

Another pause. Fuck me sideways...I'm the idiot! Time for a hasty retreat from this war. 

Je m’en vais alors. [Allright, I'm outta here.]

At least this Scorpio can intensely fuck up a conversation. :)

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