My old man, who records the sound files for this word journal. Merci, Jean-Marc!
If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time. -Edith Wharton
Si seulement on essayait d’arrêter d’être heureux, on pourrait peut-être profiter de la vie.
Today's Words: Profiter de la vie
: to enjoy life
Audio File: click the words below to hear the soundfile:
Profiter de la vie
DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
When I am old and wrinkled—well into the troisième âge—I want to race along the shores of Brittany on my Mobylette, that most groovy of French bikes with an engine!
I want to be an eccentric vieille dame. I don't want to care about what anyone thinks, as long as I am not imposing myself on their philosophie de vie. I'll ride my old bike along the seashore. I'll wear black goggles and wrap a long wool scarf, in orange potiron, around my neck. Off I'll fly, scarf ends flowing in the wind.
I'll let go of the pedals, WHEEEEEEEEE... and sing a song by Yves Montand—or a tune from Les Misérables—depending on my mood.
I'll pack a picnic with all my favoris. Inside the panier there'll be boiled eggs, anchoïade, Gratin Dauphinois, pungent cheese, a soft baguette and a flask of Earl Grey. There'll be tangerines to eat and a few squares of dark chocolate.
I'll gather delicate coquilles from the foamy seashore and tie them to my shoes. You'll hear the jingle of seashells when I pedal by.
My voice will be agreeably hoarse, not from les Gauloises or le vin but from whistling all the day long—a habit I'll have picked up at the beginning of the century, when a certain Frenchwoman cautioned: "Les femmes ne sifflent pas! Women don't whistle!" That's when I puckered up and blew another tune... and another... and then one more!
I hope to have a dear old friend, one who is much more excentrique than I. She'll dye her white hair rouge vif or aubergine. We'll tchatche about the current generation and how people need to loosen up and 'profiter un peu de la vie,' enjoy life a little, like us.
I'll say, "Pépé! Les oursins!" and my old man will return from the rocky pier where he has spent the morning hunting sea urchins. When he cracks open their coquilles, revealing the mousse-like orange roe, I will remember that real treasures don't come with a price tag.
I want to live near the seagulls so that I may slumber beneath their cries and wake up to the whoosh of the sea. I'll push myself to a stand, smooth back my white locks, adjust a faux tortoiseshell comb, and say "Dieu merci!" for another day.
Before I tuck myself into bed at night I will, once again, empty mes coquilles into an old metal cookie tin, a treasure from long ago. Looking over at my seashells, I will give thanks: my cherished, tired tin runneth over.
When this story was first written, I didn't have a dog and could not know one of the essential vital ingredients to happiness (besides my old man) in one's golden years.
Listen to the following list of French words: Download MP3
le troisième âge = retirement
Mobylette = a particular model of moped, a vintage Mobylette
une vieille dame = a venerable lady
une philosophie (f) de vie = a life philosophy
orange potiron = pumpkin orange
favori(te) = favorite
un panier = a basket.
l'anchoïade (m) = anchovy purée mixed with olive oil
un Gratin Dauphinois = a potato casserole with milk, butter and cheese
une coquille = a shell
la Gauloise = brand of cigarettes
le vin = wine
excentrique = eccentric
rouge vif = bright red
aubergine = eggplant purple
tchatcher = to chat (away)
le pépé = grandpa
un oursin = a sea urchin
Dieu merci = Thank God
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