By the time the leaves turn gold in Lyon, we'll be meeting up with part of my American family. Read about our virtual meetup in today's story, and pick up a host of new French words.
TODAY’S WORD: UNE FAUTE DE FRAPPE
: typing error,
: error made when hitting the wrong button
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
I wish I had a written transcript of our accidental family video chat, week before last. The surprising live conference began when my dad tried ringing me via Messenger and, d’un coup, several family members burst onto the screen--POP! POP! POP!--one by one appearing before us en temps réel...
POP! - My little sister manifested from her living room in Washington State. I could almost hear the crabs snapping their claws on Shaw Island where Kelley and her husband Brad (also visible) catch them.
POP! - And there was my daughter in Lyon, hair tied back and wearing stylish non-prescription glasses. Was she at school?
POP! - Then suddenly my husband popped onto l’écran! Beyond Jean-Marc's seatbelt, just past his left shoulder, I could see the familiar landscape of the Southern French Alps as he drove north for a week of hiking and biking.
These sudden POPS were followed by a couple of POTENTIAL POPS as Jules, Heidi, Max, my nephew Payne, and niece Reagan were being automatically dialed up in La Ciotat, Denver, and Boulder. Mon Dieu! I felt the need to warn my mother and my sister of their imminent exposure. Au fait.... Was Mom entirely dressed? (Slim chance in this heatwave!) And Heidi…Just where would she be? Hopefully not in the W.-C.! No use transferring my own insecurities onto others--besides it was too late, here we were, THE ORIGINAL POPS, staring at each other, wondering what the heck had just happened. Indeed, qu'est-ce qui vient de se passer?
UNE FAUTE DE FRAPPE...
"Hi Dad. Hi Everyone!" I giggled. “Dad, did you accidentally hit the ‘Family’ tab?” (That's the name of our Messenger chat group. We use it for sending each other photos, updates, and milestones. But this time, with his unintentional frappe, Dad was teleporting his kin into a live conference!)
"I don't know,” my father replied, in his characteristic innocence and étonnement. “I was just trying to call you." Dad was referring to our weekly appel, the one he’s affectionately dubbed "Coffee with Kristi”, but today's call with all the gang was more like Happy Hour! All we needed was champagne… and sparkling water pour moi.
As we smiled at each other, a little tongue-tied from the surprise, Brad chimed in with news about his and Kelley's upcoming visit to France, and would Jackie be available to dine with them in Lyon?
Jackie lit up, "Oh, I’d love to! Avec plaisir!" And just like that the screen came alive with conversation.
I sat back and enjoyed seeing my family’s faces, thinking it amazing how quickly we’d all showed up to this unscheduled party. And how easy it would be to reach everyone again if ever in need or—soyons fous!—just spontaneously.
Maybe that’s what Dad was thinking when he “accidentally” hit the wrong button and POP! POP! POP! POP! he got a sudden burst of smiling faces in return. It all just goes to show that, sometimes, it pays to throw caution to the wind… and hit the Family Button.
This one's for you, Dad, OUR ORIGINAL POP❤️.
To leave a comment, or to read one, click here. My Dad, who is hopefully reading, enjoys a brief weather report so please include one along with the city you’re writing in from. Merci. Click here to comment.
Une faute de frappe led to everyone in this picture (except Max) being virtually teleported into our live video conference. Left to right: Max, Dad, Brad, my belle-mère Marsha, Jackie, Kelley, Me, and Jean-Marc.
Below: A screenshot of the message I sent after our chat ended. (Re “Marsha joined the chat”: Dad shares his account with my belle-mère Marsha.)
une faute de frappe = a typing error
d’un coup = all at once, in one go
en temps réel = real time, instantly
l'écran = computer, phone screen
Mon Dieu! = My God!
le W.-C. = water closet (bathroom)
au fait = by the way
Qu'est-ce qui vient de se passer? = what just happened?
un appel = phone call
l’étonnement = surprise
pour moi = for me
avec plaisir = with pleasure
Soyons fous = be a little wild, be a little crazy
la belle-mère = stepmother
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety