Let us consider the waiter in the café. His movement is quick and forward, a little too precise, a little too rapid. He comes toward the patrons with a step a little too quick. He bends forward a little too eagerly; his voice, his eyes express an interest a little too solicitous for the order of the customer. Finally there he returns, trying to imitate in his walk the inflexible stiffness of some kind of automaton while carrying his tray with the recklessness of a tightrope-walking by putting it in a perpetually unstable, perpetually broken equilibrium which he perpetually re-establishes by a light movement of the arm and hand. All his behaviour seems to us a game… He is playing, he is amusing himself. But what is he playing? We need not watch for long before we can explain it: he is playing at being a waiter in a café.
— Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness. 

Shakespeare & Company

  • Stranger : Do you work here?
  • Me : I volunteer. And it is only my first day, so I am not even legit yet. What are you doing here?
  • Stranger : Studying. I am what you call a studianté.
  • Me : You know that student in French is étudiant, right?
  • Stranger : Well I just started.

"Let’s meet up on strawberry"

I am losing my mother tongue. 

I had been in denial for a week, blaming my poor sentence structure and obsessive rereading a result of indulging in too much Ulysses. Then yesterday, I said “strawberry” instead of “Saturday”. Saying “strawberry” was the straw-breaking moment when I realized that my brain is not programmed for mastering two languages; it can only either master one or half-ass both. Thinking back over the past week, I realized that I had started speaking my English with a slight French accent to English-speaking French people because it was easier for them to understand. My mother tongue leaving me is obviously punishment for the betrayal. Now not only am I panicking about losing my flair for language, but neither my English nor my French sound proper anymore. 

I think I am going to start keeping my mouth shut. 

*20 minutes later: I just wrote rainbows instead of rain boots in a list of things to purchase.