A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Tempus Fugit / Time Flies
Ever opened your eyes to find that 18 years have passed in "no time"?
"No Time": it must be that other dimension, such as the one we're sometimes in when driving. We arrive at Point B and wonder how we got there: as if automatically! We don't remember turning left, after the redundant ramshackle shed, and we don't remember passing the monotonous maple tree. (We did pass them, didn't we?)
Grenoble. A birthday celebration. In the living room of longtime friends, I stood looking up at their son, who'd not yet been born when...
Have 18 years gone by since I moved to France, on the fly?
The bearded boy looked down at me. Just how, I wondered, did time flee? (Can time flee? Or are two decades of Frenglish taking a toll? See?)
Champagne on the buffet, cake on trays... The guests gathered round with gifts. Jean-Marc offered a dusty, cobwebbed magnum of his uncle's Domaine du Banneret 1992. I wondered, did we pick those grapes, too? It was the year Jean-Marc and I shacked up. The year the bearded boy was brand-new!
I stared at the magnum and imagined... this bottle... on a shelf... twenty years from now. A treasured keepsake of a former boy, now a journalist (and was that a thread of gray in his barbe?). I could just picture the bottle, next to the framed awards. Two decades from now....
"J'aurais trente-huit ans," added the birthday boy. Yes, he would then. He would be 38 years old one day. And I'd be sixty-two. I could see it as clearly as I could see the freckles on the back of my own hand as I clutched the pen and stared at the wine label inked over with signatures.
Pen in hand, I hesitated. What to say? Hopefully not something outdated!
I drew a tiny heart so as not to take up too much space. I'd already taken up a bit of time....
Domaine du Banneret = an award winning wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape
la barbe = beard
j'aurais trente-huit ans = I would be thirty-eight
Smokey playing "Tug of Ear" with Mama Braise. Photo by Braden.
On the way home from Grenoble, entering the Drôme.
Still reading? Check out Jean-Marc's cork story at the Southern Fried French blog
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi