My fear and discomfort crept beyond the borders of the classroom and accompanied me out onto the wide boulevards. Stopping for a coffee, asking directions, depositing money in my bank account: these things were out of the question, as they involved having to speak [French]. Before beginning school, there'd be no shutting me up, but now I was convinced that everything I said was wrong. When the phone rang, I ignored it. If someone asked me a question, I pretended to be deaf. I knew my fear was getting the best of me when I started wondering why they don't sell cuts of meat in vending machines. (pp. 171-172)
My son was teasing me this past weekend while I was enjoying David Sedaris' book Me Talk Pretty One Day. He said, "There goes Mom again... giggling while she reads a book!" But there is no other way to describe this book other than a collection of funny yet simple essays about the life and times of David Sedaris as told by David Sedaris. The first section (one) recounts stories of Sedaris in the United States and the second section (deux) recounts stories of Sedaris in France. He covers many different topics during different times in his life, often times expressing or explaining the difficulties he has had in understanding people, things, and language. My favorite selections include Genetic Engineering, The Learning Curve, Today's Special, Nutcracker.com, The Tapeworm Is In, Make That A Double, and Smart Guy.
As a child I'd always harbored a sneaking suspicion that I might be a genius. The theory was completely my own, corroborated by no one, but so what? Being misunderstood was all part of the package. My father occasionally referred to me as "Smart Guy," but eventually I realized that when saying it, he usually meant just the opposite. (p. 241)
Me Talk Pretty One Day is a smart read, lots of fun, and a good introduction to David Sedaris, which is why it was recommended to me in the first place. I really enjoyed this book and pass along the recommendation to others.