Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bonjour Tweétaire

I wanted all of you to meet my French foreign exchange student for the summer. We’re going through a rough patch, and I’m not sure she’s going to last. Say something, Françoise. I guess she went out for un petit café break. If they get Twitter in France, it's going to have to be 360 characters. No way the French can hold it to 140.

Françoise wrote this novel that is considered groundbreaking for a teenager, and it’s all about ballerina flats with French sailor tops and smoking cigarettes like Jean-Paul Belmondo and racing her sports car down to the Riviera while swigging straight from the Dom Pérignon bottle , sorta like Spring Break, French style, shattering the empties against olive trees and scaring the sheep. In other words, thinking she’s pretty merde chaude (vulgaire.)

I need to talk to her about those ballerina flats. She gets them off Repetto’s in Paris cause they made them for Bebe (Brigitte Bardot,) plus they make real ballet shoes, but it was the flats and toe cleavage and Brigitte doing her mambo dance in And God Created Woman.

Françoise’s gone and whacked off her hair in some kind of screwy homage to Arthur Rimbaud, that little disaffected punk from Charleville who went to Paris and spent the bulk of his time having sex with Verlaine, staying drunk off absinthe and writing some bad poetry, then running home to Mama, when not playing games with knives and guns and disappearing into London to teach French when he couldn’t even speak English.

Françoise needs to realize this is D.C. where where we’ve got wars to deal with and a recession and Au Pied de Chochon flu. Anyway, she thought she was coming here to work for Cubism, an art movement, and instead she got me trying to teach her how a stapler works, for Christ's sake, so now she’s been slouching around a lot, sneering at everyone that crosses her path (that Rimbaud thing again,) and going around to Lauriol Plaza telling the al fresco group she’s leaving for Africa to become a gun runner and live the dissipated life of a downtrodden Colonial, talking about saints and paradise (her Patti Smith drone,) and how “Life is a farce. My innocence is enough to weep over,” and D.C. is hell and this is her season in it, and she keeps seeing fire and pitchforks in Penn Quarter. I mean, get a grip, girl. It's just an open kitchen.

She’s also given to those highfalutin’, verbose statements that aren’t working too well with Twitter, so the second she tears off with “My day is over, I’m leaving Europe. The sea air will burn my lungs. I will swim and be bronzed by the sun and smoke and drink liqueurs strong as boiling metal. I will have gold. I will be lazy and brutual.” On Twitter, that will cut her right off at "stron," and she’s got the lazy part down, I can attest to that. Her "bronzed by the sun" is turning into me running across the street to CVS to get her some Noxema and a bottle of Bayer’s.

I ought to remind her that Verlaine went so off his rocker hanging with Rimbaud that his penis and anus were examined to see if he was a “habitual” or “recent” pederast, so subsequently, we know more about his penis and anus than the intimate anatomy of any other major poet of the past. Chew on that with your croissant, Françoise. Study your croissant. Do you not note the shape, the flakiness, the pure symbolism of diseased passion?

The other day I saw “What hard angel stuffs me full/Between the shoulders, while/I fly off for Paradise?” on her computer screen. I wonder if I could find her work as a French teacher to some St. Alban’s kid needing a tutor?

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Blogger kob said...

"Study your croissant. Do you not note the shape, the flakiness, the pure symbolism of diseased passion?"

You have ruined Au Bon Pain forever for me.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

Francoise should know America is about fast food, fast cars, and fast internet. Twitter is basically the fast food of the internet. The French will never understand....give her some "freedom fries" and send her on her way.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

KOB: ...the brown ooze of the chocolat.

Phil: You've got it. She gets some money and what does she buy? A Jaguar...something that's going to spend half it's life in the shop.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Kate said...


11:49 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

No, Kate. French. O.K. Bizzare, but keep in mind at some points I'm writing about surrealism...and my word verification is "demetio," which is close to demento.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Hammer said...

Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine...

12:42 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Hammer: I know. I was also thinking Tom Verlaine and Television.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous ma said...

Oh, Madame Cube! J'espere que tu ecriras plus de ton amie ou etudiant devises etrangers.

Eh, moi, tu me demande?

Je ecrirai par la suite.

(pardon-moi pour les absences des accents)

7:41 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

MA: I love your comment. I almost wrote this piece in French, told a friend, and they started laughing hysterically and said, "DO IT!" It was bad enough I was writing about people only someone studying French Lit would know about. I did send it on to another friend, and she was loving the Belmondo-Sagan-Bardot-Riveria reference period. As she put it, "A time when skirts swirled and people actually sat down and talked to one another. No t.v. watching. In fact, you might not even own a television." I loved her jumping back like that in thought. I knew when I wrote this, at least you would get it. Sometimes I have to write for me, yanno? D'accord?

8:16 PM  
Blogger Velvet said...

There is truly nothing better than using a French intern to mock Twitter. Both deserve our wrath, do they not?

I thought in that first pic, that was a boy.

And Lauriol has a website? With comments enabled? Oh. My. I might have to do some damage over there.

"You call zees a restaurant???"

12:11 PM  
Blogger Hammer said...

I warned y'all about Twitter, but did y'all listen?


"On second thought, let's not go to Twitter. It is a silly place."

4:00 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I love that line,Hammer. That and the guy clapping in the dungeon.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Oh mon diu. I bet I misspelled that.

This is classic. All I can say is thank you.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am bored. So bored. Bonjour Tweettesse.

-- grince

2:02 PM  

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