Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grocery Store Canons!

In my family, we’ve kinda got this thing with roosters. I don’t know where exactly the tradition started, or what its roots are, but we’re rooster people. Roosters in the kitchen are supposed to bring good luck. Only… live roosters in the kitchen would just bring an extraordinary mess, so typically the roosters are inanimate objects that vary in size, colour and level of epic. If you’re a part of my immediate family, you’ve probably got a rooster in your kitchen.
The Initiation Rooster is the plastic rooster that I’m pretty sure my stepdad is training us kids with. The Initiation Rooster is also known as Ricardo, and is very handsome for a plastic rooster; in fact, what you’re imagining in your head now that I’ve called him a ‘plastic rooster’ is probably not doing him justice, and that’s unfortunate. He looks more like he’s carved out of wood. I digress though. Ricardo the Initiation Rooster is currently living quite happily on a sunny side-table in the kitchen at my place. He had to move in with me when my parents discovered Papa Ricardo, who is notably more magnificent than Initiation Rooster Ricardo being as he’s ceramic and beautifully painted. Well... I’ve been accepted to law school and I’ll be moving away from my hometown in the fall. The boyfriend is staying in town for other schooling, though, and I can’t leave him rooster-less, so I believe now is an appropriate time to introduce the newest rooster in the family to the world.
World, meet Besancon. Besancon, meet the world!

Besancon, the Lucky French Rooster.
Please note that he is receiving a French name because he was found in Carcassonne, France, and not anywhere in Italy or the mainland USA. He is a metal rooster (in keeping with the trend that currently no two roosters in the family are made of the same material) and his ability to pair wine and cheese is unparalleled. Besancon will be accompanying me to law school, and (hopefully) bring me luck with memorizing case studies all day and night. I’ll need it, and it’s not like I’ll have time to hang out with living, breathing things while I’m in law school, so Besancon can function as a substitute! Now… if only I could train him to wash dishes…
Somewhere, my mom just read that last paragraph to my stepdad, and he just snorted milk out of his nose.
Anyway, now that the important business is out of the way we can cover other funny things that have happened in France recently! For example, another ridiculous grocery store adventure. Because that makes sense. Having ridiculous adventures in the grocery stores of foreign countries.
So I went to the grocery store yesterday all excited to pick up some goat cheese, a baguette, and apples for my petit-repas between 5:00-6:00pm. Dinner is typically eaten after 8:00pm here and that’s a long ways from lunch, so a snack is usually in order between getting home from class and dinnertime. I was fairly focused on the food, so I tripped my way up the stone steps, unplugged my earbuds and followed the queue of people headed into the grocery store. My hands were all tangled up in the cable of my earbuds, so the middle-aged gentleman ahead of me held the gate for me. Very kind of him. I said ‘Thank you’ and smiled, because that’s what you do when someone is kind to you. We both stepped over to the fruit and veggie stands that mark the beginning of the store proper, and were headed around the stands in opposite directions when he backtracked and came around towards me. Thinking I’d dropped something, I checked the ground… nope, iPod and other affects still present… I wondered what he wanted.
He smiled very broadly and said in a very kind voice “Tu est cannes, c’est bien.” … What? I was confused. In my vocabulary ‘cannes’ just means ‘cane’, like sugar cane or a walking cane. I smiled again and thanked him, it was clearly meant to be a compliment, whatever it was. I followed my thanks up with ‘Qu’est-ce qu’un canne?’ He realized French wasn’t my first language and groped for a synonym. ‘Magnifique.’
Oh, well that’s pretty dandy. I’ll take that random compliment. Cheers to middle-aged men who hold gates open for young women, right?
Well, I got home and wordreference-ed ‘canne’. It means cane, like a walking cane, I wasn’t wrong. Still confused I asked the instructor in class today what it meant, which was well within the bounds of normal. She prefers that we ask her to clarify if we run into a sign in the street or a phrase that we don’t understand. Sure glad I asked this time. Once I’d given her the context she laughed. “Oh, Kenna c’etait ‘canon’!”

What I think of when I hear 'canon'.
Ironically, this canon is also Canadian, and is on display at Niagara Falls.
… Now I’m a canon? The instructor started to explain that canons were these big iron contraptions from the middle ages that fired canon balls, and gestured the shape of a canon in the air with her hands. The whole class was giggling, we were all starting to wonder if some middle aged man had called me curvy ironically because I’m so distinctly not curvy. No no, the connotation of ‘canon’ is that you’re hot. That you have plenty of energy, and you go off with a ‘boom’.
Yes, that is as sexual as it sounds.
Now the class is in stitches. They thought it was hilarious that I'd done the super-naive, very polite, classically Canadian stereotype and said thank you for this. Our instructor noted that typically when a random middle aged man in a grocery store says ‘hey babe, you’re a canon!’ your inner ego says ‘well of course I am, win!’ and does a bit of a happy dance. How you react publically (because this is a random person twice your age hitting on you in a grocery store) is you do something like raise your eyebrow and spit out a phrase along the lines of “…and I’m taken, thanks very much.”
Welp, that’s sure not what I did. No wonder the little old lady by the cucumbers rolled her eyes.
Bienvenue a France, la terre du romance et des canons. 

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