Day of Mortification
Scene: TD (like section) for Géographie de l'alimentation. 40 students in severely overheated classroom. Professor hands out photocopies of articles, discusses the first one by himself. Robin, seated in 4th row, begins to lose focus in the suffocating heat. Professor flips to second article, then consults attendance sheet. A pause in the silent classroom.
Prof: Euh... Robin Davis?
Robin: (after shocked pause, as no other professor in any of her classes or TDs has actually called on a student, raises hand) O-oui?
Prof: Pouvez-vous lire cette article? (Can you read this article?)
Robin: (another shocked pause, distress apparent in voice) L-lire? (Read?)
Prof: Oui, le jeune chocolatier... (Yes, starting at "the young chocolatier...")
Robin: (reads first sentence haltingly, ashamed of awful French accent. Stops after first sentence.) Continue?
Prof: (encouragingly, as to 5-year-old) Oui, continue, très bon accent. (Yes, continue, very good accent.)
French students seated in front of Robin: (smile at her encouragingly/indulgently/curiously)
Robin: (reads rest of paragraph breathlessly, not absorbing anything, making several gross errors in pronunciation. Paragraph ends with the year 1995, which is difficult to remember on the spot, because in French it is literally "one thousand nine hundred and four-times-twenty and fifteen.")
Prof: (calls on next student as soon as Robin stops)
Other student: (continues in swift and flawless French, as do other students called upon, even the two other foreign ones)
Robin: (sinks into chair, considering that on the plus side, everybody else in the room now feels great about their French)
Going to Brussels and possibly to Antwerp, which is home to a printing museum featuring the world's only full set of original Garamond letter dies!!!! Am devising ways of tricking 3 travel buddies into going to said museum with me instead of nearby fashion exhibition. Will not be able to update until Wednesdayish.