compatir (kom-pah-teer) verb
: to sympathize
Audio File and Example Sentence:listen to my daughter pronounce these French words: Download Compatir
Nous compatissons pour les épreuves qu'ils endurent.
We sympathize with the trials that they endure.
A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse
I am stuck in the kitchen, peeling pepper skins like a prisoner, while the man of the house is outside enjoying cocktail hour. My eyes dart over to the kitchen window, to observe the MEN and their leisure. Que la vie est belle pour certains!*
Well, would you take a look at that! I mutter, studying the picnic table and the merry men seated round it. They are using coffee cups for their pastis!* I guess my husband was in too big a hurry to catch up with Leisure... to bother to search for a proper recipient for his Ricard!*
Coffee cups! It's barbaric! MEN! Couldn't my husband have chosen tumblers or other such glasses? After all, I HAVE JUST EMPTIED THE DISHWASHER -- AGAIN! Besides, what must "Merrymaker B" (our unexpected guest) be thinking... about our coffee cup / cocktail glasses? On second thought, he isn't thinking, he's having a good time!
They are all having a good time! But this informal, last-minute apéro* was not on my agenda; as far as I knew, lunch for our family of four was. And chop, chop, chop! if we weren't on a tight ... however self-imposed... schedule. En avant! *
The juice from the red pepper that I am peeling runs down, past my self-righteous wrists, to my irritated elbows; in the background, the men's laughing bellows...
Harrumph! I stare at the "leisure club," who are happily sipping their drinks, stopping only to pop an olive verte* into their mouths--oblivious of their crime, mindless of the time. Time which is ever on my mind. Time to finish peeling these peppers!
"C'est une vie de chien!"* I declare, to my one-woman audience (Braise The Dog, who can sympathize -- for the father of her six children is back at his bachelor pad in Marseilles. He's probably sipping pastis in a coffee cup, too -- sans souci* for his slaving spouse. Surely she works harder than he does).
"Isn't that right, Braise!" I say, grabbing another red pepper to pulverize.
In the background the puppies pipe in. "So it's time to feed those suckers, too?" I say, sympathizing with my dog, while throwing a glaring eye out the window, to the anis*-suckers seated outside. I notice the men's relaxed faces, such a contrast to my own, which is tense-at-the-temples.
Content. That's what those men are: content. And why shouldn't they be -- someone else is doing all the work!
(Just then, my husband wanders into the war zone... looking for something to eat... a very bad move on his part!)
Noticing my eye-balls which are now shaped like a rocket and pushing out of their sockets, he says:
"Darling, il faut que tu manges quelque chose,"* as if lunch is something that -- POOF -- appears on the table at the first sign of hunger.
To his credit... he's already had a run-in with my sacre bleu* sugar blues: the hypoglycemia which is causing this current bout of hyper-crankiness.
"Hungry?" I inquire. Let me make YOU a sandwich. With that, I take the plastic bottle of mayonnaise, turn it over and pound it on the table.
"I hate these plastic bottles! Such a waste, all that mayonnaise that sticks to the bottom!" I explain, pounding out more of my frustrations.
My husband grabs a couple sandwiches and quickly slips outside to the peaceful picnic table with the jovial gentlemen.
* * *
It's just my stomach talking, and not the reality of things. Reality would look and feel much different if I had un ventre plein,* or mi-plein*... or even un petit peu plein.* I wouldn't feel so on edge... wouldn't be so busy working myself into The Nagging Housewife.
I wait until my husband is out of sight... to gobble up my grilled pepper sandwich. Soon, my nerves relax and, when next I look out the window, things appear quite different....
Instead of The Leisure Club, I see three men resting after a hard morning's work. Those poor guys haven't stopped since seven a.m., I now realize. Jean-Marc must have been too tired to root through the kitchen cabinet for a tumbler -- so he grabbed those coffee cups. How funny: three men drinking pastis out of coffee cups! I notice how along with the restored blood-sugar, sympathy--and a sense of humor--return.
As for Who Works The Hardest Around Here!, a popular debate in our family (whenever fatigue and hunger rear their ugly têtes*...) I realize now that even if I peeled peppers until the French cows came home, it still wouldn't equal my husband's output at this harvest time of year... or perhaps all throughout the year: for missing from our calculations, when caught up in a Who Works Harder Than Who debate, is all the work that takes place behind the scenes: it is the work that we don't see that has us assuming that our spouse (or sister or brother or roommate or co-worker or neighbor...) is enjoying the easy life, "la belle vie," at our own expense.
I plan on sharing this lesson with my kids, the next time they quarrel about chores and who does more: until God gives you bionic eyes, never assume that others are idle and that you have ended up with the raw end of the deal! Remember the work going on behind the scenes, and the diligent, often discreet, worker inside every one of us.
(And, whatever you do, don't skip meals :-)
(Note: I am in a rush today, on this la rentrée*! I need your help with this vocabulary section. Would you please define the French words, below, and share your answers in the comments box? Mille mercis d'avance!
Que la vie est belle pour certains!
C'est une vie de chien!
il faut que tu manges quelque chose
un ventre plein
un peu plein
Here is a quick and delcious savory break or cake salé to have on hand. Don't miss it, click here
Thank you for considering a contribution today!
Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and improving this free language journal, for the past 18 years. If you enjoy this website and would like to keep it going, please know your donation towards this effort makes all the difference! No matter the weather, on good days or bad, I am committed to sharing a sunny, vocabulary-packed update with you, one you can look forward to. I hope it fuels your dreams of coming to France while expanding your French vocabulary. A contribution by check or via PayPal (or credit card, links below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!