When French skies pout.
la moue (mooh) noun, feminine
a pout, grimace; a pulled face
...quelquefois...mon esprit joue, et quelquefois je ris et fais la moue... ...sometimes...my mind plays, and sometimes I laugh and pull a face...
--from "Oeuvres de Scarron," by Paul Scarron
Long lines at the autoroute* toll booth make for great people watching! While my backseat passengers are bored by the wait, I find it fun to peer into the seat-belted salons* of strangers.
To my left, I see a puff of white hair advancing in the fast lane. Freckled hands grip the steering wheel. I wonder, will I have the courage to conduire* when I'm nearing ninety? Who knows...and who knows where our daring driver is headed. I like to think she's on her way to Monte Carlo; fed up with her bridge partners, she's going to hit the slot machines!
Next, my eyes travel over to the right lane where I see a woman pouting. "Elle fait la moue," the bored ones in the backseat comment. Turns out my daughter Jackie and her friend Manu are people watching too!
"Maintenant elle rigole! She's laughing now!" the girls report, forgetting boredom. Pouting...laughing...That's odd. I look over to the little black car, but the driver isn't cracking up as the girls said she was. She is blank faced...except for....what's that? A little quiver at the side of her lip. She must be lunatique.*
"Elle fait les grimaces!" She's making faces! The girls giggle. I look over again, in time to witness the woman's hands dropping to her sides, a serious look returning to her face, comme si de rien n'était.* Her hands were fanned out beside her temples, the girls tell me, and, fingers wiggling, she was
making elephant ears!
Amused, I take a closer look at our middle-aged motorway mime. Her impeccable coiffure--short, severe, every stiff strand in place--conceals her inner comedian. It is those dangling earrings that betray her: swooping and free, and she, a colorful commuter turning my girls' boredom to glee.
References: une autoroute (f) = motorway; le salon (m) = lounge, living room; conduire = to drive; lunatique = temperamental; comme si de rien n'était = as if nothing happened
Drive Around Languedoc and Southwest France: Your guide to great drives
:: Audio File ::
Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French word "moue" and today's quote:
La moue...quelquefois...mon esprit joue, et quelquefois je ris et fais la moue...
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Terms & Expressions:
faire la moue = to pull a face, to pout
faire la moue à quelqu'un = to make a face at someone
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