Personally I never know when to politely enter a conversation with French people. I feel like a novice driver trying to join the roundabout of the Champs-Élysées. The French people in the English class I go to on Monday evenings don’t half like to interrupt conversations though. They just jump straight in whenever they feel like it.
Case in point last night at class. The aim was to go round the group (approx 15 people) and have each classmate speak a bit in English about what they did during the Christmas holidays, and once that was finished we would all then read a lengthy text at the end about Downton Abbey.
A lengthy text about Downton Abbey – and here was me thinking Christmas was over (that’s sarcasm BTW).
This all fell apart rapidly, because they insisted on cutting in and asking questions about the most minor of details when people were speaking.
Evelyn had a lovely Christmas. She spent time with friends and family. She had some lovely food. She saw in the New Year with her in-laws and her daughter. Her husband had to pick up their other daughter from Paris, as she couldn’t get home any other way due to the strikes. Evelyn also painted during Christmas.
This was how it was supposed to come out. How it actually came out was like this:
Evelyn: ‘I had a lovely Christmas with friends and family, and I painted…’
Pierre: ‘What did you paint?’
Pierre: ‘Did you paint a painting or a wall?’
Evelyn: ‘A wall’
Christine: ‘What colour?’
Evelyn: ‘errr, blue’
Bertrand: ‘What sort of blue?’
Evelyn: (struggling somewhat) ‘Strong blue’
Bertrand: ‘Strong blue? You mean dark blue?’
Evelyn: ‘errr no’
Christine: (pointing at Martine’s jumper) ‘Blue like that blue?’
Christine: (pointing at Isabelle’s scarf) ‘Blue like that blue?’
Bertrand: (pointing at the dark blue curtains ) ‘Blue like that?’
Evelyn: ‘Yes, a bit’
Bertrand: ‘That’s dark blue’
Evelyn: ‘Ok. And so after I painted…’
Bertrand: ‘What brand was the paint?’
It went on like this all evening. Every time someone would get a decent ‘flow’ going, somebody else would interrupt them.
The class was due to finish at 9.30 pm, however I had to excuse myself at 9.45pm.
They hadn’t even started reading the Downton Abbey text either.