Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Window Incident

Post continued from Meet the Parents (Again)


Saturday 14th July. Bastille Day! My first Bastille Day in France!

The day had been planned several weeks ago. There was a Franco-Ecossaise party a few hours from Mr and Mrs FP's house and we, as a foursome, would be there. There would be kilts!!! There would be Scottish dancing!!! There would be whisky!! And it was all advertised on a beautiful tartan poster with every sentence punctuated with several exclamation marks!!!

At 8am we were up and getting ready for our trip. By 8:30 am we had decided not to go. It was 30 degree heat and no one was prepared to sit in congested traffic on the auto route for three hours each way.

The air of awkwardness had cleared from the night before when I descended the stairs to greet Mr and Mrs FP. As they kissed me good morning, I smiled in relief. Thank God! So they didn’t hate me for the way I’d been so sullen.

And then it happened. The point where I knew I was a walking disaster. The moment I knew my weekend was going to be full of terrible mistakes and faux pas.

It was after breakfast. I was outside, reading Mrs FP’s glossy magazine, FP was breaking wood and twigs for the barbecue (how sexy is that sentence?! My man is just sooo manly!)

Mrs FP came out and asked me to open the shutters and windows upstairs. I duly went upstairs, into the warm, stuffy bedroom and began to open windows. The shutters were new, white, clean and modern. Expensive. They weren’t your average French shutters. No, they were high tech. They didn’t open outwards. You pulled a cord, fed the cord into a hole, and magically up slid the shutters. Grand! Just as I was having a little trouble with the second one, I wondered if I was doing it correctly. I’d seen FP doing it a hundred times; he’d made it look so quick and easy, but this was stiff and taking a while.

And then the cord snapped, the shutter clattered loudly and fell and I was left wide eyed, wondering what the bloody hell to do.

I considered walking away and denying all knowledge.

Five minutes of chewing my fingernails and planning my apology speech and FP called my name. Looking out the window to the Terrace where FP was standing, he shouted up at me ‘what’s taking you so long?’


‘I … I think I broke a shutter.’ I muttered, making sad eyes at him and twisting a strand of hair round my finger. Look innocent. Please don’t be angry, please don’t be angry.

FP wasn’t angry. He claimed he was fine. But he was worried when he realised we had to explain to Mr FP. That was much worse.

We both approached Mr FP cautiously. He was fiddling with the barbecue. I lingered behind FP, holding onto the waistband of his jeans, peering over his shoulder and trying to suss out Mr FP’s mood. Things didn’t look good.

‘Merde!’ I believe was his first word that indicated he wasn’t happy. He then went on to talk about the extortionate price it would cost to repair it.

But when he found out it was me who broke it he slowly let a smile spread across his face, looked my way and said kindly, ‘ahh c’est pas grave, ma grande fille’. I offered to pay, said I was really very sorry and that I would never lay a finger on his windows again. But everything was waved away with his hand as Mr and Mrs FP found the funny side of it. It appears I'm so clumsy that I'm actually expected to break things, trip over things and spill food down myself. Grand! I can be myself so.

FP will now be blaming me for every upset in the FP household – that way, no one gets into trouble.

The rest of the day involved two huge (and delicious) meals, eight courses, seven people sunburned, five bottles of wine, one Princesse singing Scottish songs to six amused people, two hundred comments on how white Princesse's skin is, at least five hundred pétardes, fifty fireworks, one massive water fight and 736810038 references of The Window Incident.

I suppose the jokes were funny the first couple of times...


T.D. Newton said...

It sounds like you'll never live the window incident down. It could be worse, though. It sounds like everything went well on the whole.

I can't imagine what went through Micah's head the first time she came to stay at my parents' house with me. My parents are really warm people and they kind of smother you with "do you need anything???" I hope she wasn't worried about being clumsy.

Anyway, shit happens... just think, someday you'll have little FP's of your own running around (you'll be Queen by then, of course) and you'll have to meet THEIR girlfriends. Will you be angry when they break your stuff?

Samantha said...

Oh lordy, the "you're so white" comment! I get it all the time, and I'm not even that pale. Fab's family (being cattle farmers and all) are constantly telling me that I need to eat more red meat, that that will cure everything!

sugar007 said...

My fave French sentence is 'C'est pas grave'. I am sure the parents think you are adorable, clumsy but adorable. They will just hide the best china, and child proof the house before you visit next time :-) Don't worry about it besides how many people gets a private performance by a scottish chanteuse (sp)?

Zhu said...

Mais c'est pô grave ! (Je le dis avec l'accent du Québec :D )

Well, they like you obviously. Cause you know how important are windows in French culture !

Just joking. :D

Zhu said...

"As they kissed me good morning, I smiled in relief. "

I totally forgot that French kissed on the cheek to say hi. I've ben in Canada for too long ! I actually had to read the sentene twice :D

Despinová said...

When you talk about Mr and Mrs FP I'm picturing Shrek 2 in the nicest way possible! How adorable, they clearly love you.
(Incidentally, Jez's dad once sang Yorkshire songs to all the people in his village in the Loire!)
Nice that they can joke about these things anyway!

Despina said...

You probably know this fabulous song already, but in case you don't, enjoy!
Sorry I'm so bad at links!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

TD: You know, I can't imagine my children ever being old enough to have boyfriends or girlfriends...I always kind of imagine time would freeze when they were around the age of 8, they wouldn't grow up and neither would I. Oh dear, you've given me a lot to think about...

@Sam yes!!! I didn't think I was that pale either but according to the FP household I am! But bless Fab's family...they sound very caring!

Sugar - I adore the phrase c'est pas grave as well, it's so french and kind of roles off the tongue nicely. Haha I had to laugh at the 'child proof the house'! Next time they are expecting a visit from me I'm quite sure I will begin to notice mysterious disappearances of expensive and decorative ornaments that will have been carefull packed away in a place I cannot reach!

Zhu! What kind of French woman are you that you forgot your culture is to give bisous bisous bisous bisous at every greeting?! Oh deary me girl you've been in Canada waaaay to long! Still it must be nice for you that you can say hello to people without catching coldsores and getting jagged by men's stubble!

@ Despina Aha! Shrek 2 is quite appropriate...imagine the king, the queen and the prince...and then moi the Scottish ogre!

Thanks for the link, I've actually never heard the song or of the dude who sings it! (Is that bad? Did I show myself up as someone out of touch of French popular culture?) But its a grand song, one of those ones I'm going to learn the words to and impress FP with!

T.D. Newton said...

Oh you have many years to go before you need to worry about children, I was just saying to put yourself in their shoes. I'm sure when you are older no amount of money will be equivalent to your childrens' happiness.

sylvie d said...

White...there is something about the anglo- saxons skin. It is not white, it is just a beautiful complexion that us latin can't get. If I am white I look ill however! and it is true the french are obsessed with it!

Despina said...

It's Vincent Delerm and he and I have a special understanding that if it all goes tits-up with Mr Jez... well, you know ;) Whoops I totally didn't mean to call you a Scottish ogre! Get on over to my blog and get yourself an award xxx

Princesse Ecossaise said...

lol @ Despina! Don't worry darling I didn't think you were implying I'm a Scottish's quite fitting though ;-)

Sylvie that white that us Anglo-saxons have is no beautiful complexion - at least none of us think so! We all yearn to have the latin complexion! Isn't it funny how the whole word feels the grass is always greener on the other side?! :-)

TD you are very humble and speak wise words, although, when I thought about the whole 'would I be angry if my sons girlfriend broke something of mine' thing I came to the conclusion that I would be mad. Is that very mean of me?

T.D. Newton said...

Haha, it's not very mean and I'm sure it depends on the circumstances and the cost of things. Surely if you had plowed their car into a cement divider they might have been a bit more upset, but it was just a window shade. Those can be replaced easily but their son's happiness is worth the entire world to them (I'm sure).