In digest form, because I have too many drafts and too few posts
Despite being in the painful situation of having a seat where the boss can keep an eye on me, I do manage to sneak off now and then. Not right away from the office, but kind of around. There is a park next door that provides for a lovely walk. In fact the surroundings are so pristine, even men old of age and worn of limb start jogging despite coming there just for a little walk. But if you’re not one for speed, and dont mind being overtaken by people twice your age, you can potter about (or just sit and watch the others at it, if you’re me). This usually makes for an excellent break from the world of hardware design, only, as I learnt, if you check where the boss is before you sneak out.
Got out of office yesterday and got into the park, when I noticed the boss coming right behind me. My heart was in my mouth, but I’ve been in enough tight spots to know how to wriggle out. The boss was deep in conversation with a couple of people and hadnt noticed me. Another person might have slunk away, but I’m as inconspicuous in a crowd (which there wasnt even right then) as a shark in a bath tub. And with the boss blocking the nearest exit, my only option was the other exit about a hundred metres away. The average onlooker of my dash for it at that point, may not have been reminded of Usain Bolt, or even the old men who run about the park, but a physicist looking on may have marvelled at the momentum involved as I ran for life.
Attended my first French class today. Had to get up before the sunrise to reach the place. Would have been really grumpy if I hadnt seen an episode of Coupling the previous night- the one with the giggle loop (WARNING: To know of the giggle loop, is to be in the giggle loop. Do not read further if you’re not ready)
If you dont know what it is, a giggle loop is this insane feeling that comes out of nowhere when it should not. Like at some random person’s funeral. When everyone observes a minute’s silence, you remember a little funny something, that tickles you a bit. A smile spreads across your face, but you cover it up quickly. Then as each second ticks by slowly, the laughter comes back, suddenly, stonger, but you bite it back. Now, you think about how crazy you’ld have seemed if you’d laughed out when everyone else was silent, and just as the minute is about to be up, you find yourself suppressing so much laughter, it feels like you’re going to explode. This is too much and you finally burst out laughing. This my friend, is the giggle loop. Once it starts building up, it will explode.
But to take things as they happened, I landed at the French class at an ungodly hour. The instructor came in and introduced himself. Then, just before he started, probably out of habit, he asked if there were any doubts, and incredibly, a hand shot up. There was someone eager to ask doubts, that wasnt odd, I’d seen a few of those in college, but the class hadnt even BEGUN! When it struck me the guy was old enough to be a professor himself, I was in the giggle loop. I smiled as the instructor heard out all his questions (“What is the format for the test? And the syllabus?”, when he wouldnt even know the possibilities) and answered patiently. Then we were taught a couple of simple phrases, including ‘Good day’ and ‘My name is..’. The instructor naturally added his own name at the end of that sentence, and then asked a couple of students to come forward, greet each other and introduce themselves in French. One, of them, the middle aged chap who’d asked doubts earlier, in an attempt to imitate the portly French instructor exactly, greeted the other with a flourish of his hand but ended up looking like he was in a gay parade, and then introduced himself in French.. but retained the instructor’s name. I almost laughed out, but controlled it in time and told myself I shouldnt be laughing at people trying to speak a new language.
Then we got down to numbers, and having been taught the pronounciations till five, we had to say it out loud. Being a hardware engineer, I naturally started counting from zero (pronounced ‘Ziero’), much to the amusement of the others. The guy who smirked the most had to count next, and went “jeero, an..”. The instructor thought he’d got the pronounciation wrong and corrected him, but he kept saying ‘jeero’. It took a few repititions before everyone realised the guy was no longer trying French, he just pronounced zero ‘jeero’ in English. It was my turn to be tickled, and being in the giggle loop, I almost burst out laughing. My ribs were hurting, but I didnt let a sound escape my lips.
Then it was a round of introductory sentences before calling it a day. It was going smoothly untill someone got up who’d thoroughly muddled the words among different sentences, but spoke with the confidence of Joey in that immortal episode of Friends
Phoebe: Repeat after me: Je m’appelle Claude.
Joey: Je de coop plow.
Phoebe: Let’s try it again: Je m’appelle Claude.
Joey: Je de plee bloom.
Phoebe’s attempts to teach Joey French are rapidly failing, although he nearly manages it when he pronounces each word one syllable at a time, but messes up when he strings it all together:
Phoebe: (delighted) Je M’Appele!
Joey: Pape flu!
This finally killed me, and I burst out laughing like I’d supressed it for years. The more I laughed, the funnier it seemed to become, and the harder I would laugh, untill finally the body realised I would die if I didnt stop and somehow reduced the mirth. Luckily for me, everyone else was laughing too, but I think I was the only guy with tears in my eyes.
p.s. I KNOW I didnt do much better in the class, and I shouldnt laugh at others for that, but I was in the giggle loop ok?
p.p.s Have you been in the loop?