‘So, tell me, which kind of meat did you buy? Quelle viande vous-avez acheté?’
‘Rien,’ I respond, since I don’t care what the different kinds of meat are called in French. ‘Tofu,’ I offer, hoping to be taught the real pronunciation of the word. My Asian-food loving, otherwise carnivore neighbour chimes in: ‘Moi aussi, tofu.’
It wasn’t my plan to stale the pending, no-doubt lively discussion about meat in French, it’s just that had I decided I wouldn’t pretend to be someone else for language learning sake. I mean: I don’t know what many meat specialities are called in Slovene or German, either, though I did understand my teacher’s complaint about having to ‘manger tripes’ in France …
‘We should go to a restaurant in Alsace together’, she suggests. ‘We could try their local specialities and order in French.’
Well, this would be an occasion for me to find an elaborate excuse for not taking part. I could of course say something like ‘it’s no fun taking a vegetarian to a French restaurant‘ or similar, but since I’ve been trying to be less … locally obtrusive recently, to avoid meaningless, time-consuming discussions about moi, I might as well say something else this time, not the truth. It’s the priorities, stupid.