Chez Soi

Adventures of a Year Abroad

C’est Bizarre

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One word that appears to be used a lot in France is “bizarre”. Said in about the same way as in the US, you understand it immediately. In language class, it is used by our professor for every irregular verb conjugations (there are many) and idioms (even more). Then, as kiddo mentioned, there’s a weirdo on the metro at least once a day that is making policy statements or acting super psycho and people shrug and say “c’est bizarre” after the guy (they’re all guys so far) gets off.

Just now, Kiddo and I are sitting in our living room while some handyman is fixing our phone that lets guests call from downstairs to say they are here. Apparently the phone has been unworkable for some time but because the apartment was vacant for 15 years.  Because we’re here, it is getting fixed. No problem. Except …je parle juste un peu français. Ya know. Hubster (who speaks better French) is in England for work. So a little bit of well parsed words, some pantomime and shrugging of shoulders and whatever… he gets started. Then he gets a call. And he proceeds to pace up and down our little hall while holding an extremely loud conversation. I wish I understood French so I could at least eavesdrop. (Good reason to learn French.) But anyways, he is drilling away in the wall, without any forewarning because of course (bien sur) the language gap…. as I try to think a thought and all I can think is how bizarre this scene is…

It’s the word of the week.

Author: nilofermerchant

Strategist. Passionate about igniting cultures of innovation. HBR Writer, O'Reilly Author (published January 2010) of The New How, and former CEO of Rubicon.

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