Going in Head First
Well, today was quite fruitful as far as blagging goes. Of course, it helps if you have a dad who speaks great French standing right beside you, taking the heat right off. My stomach decided it was appropriate to take residence in my throat when my father mentioned we were popping down to the local school to meet the headmistress.
It doesn't matter how long it's been since you've graced any type of teaching establishment with your presence, the mere mention of the title headmistress makes you feel somewhat nauseous. Couple that with the thought of looking brain dead when she starts talking to you because you can't understand the language, and you instantly develop a desire for some kind of inter-galactic hoover to suck you right out of existence.
I wasn't looking forward to it.
We got to the school and dad sighed; it looked like she wasn't there.
"Oh, that's a pity", I said, hoping that the drama lessons had paid off.
"My mistake, there she is" he said, brightening a little.
To my surprise and relief, she looked like a genuine human being with the capacity for empathy. She instantly struck up conversation with my dad, and I went straight into look-interested-and-nod-smile-and-laugh-in-the-right-places mode. I couldn't really tell what was going on but it looked positive and my dad was pointing at me a lot so I guessed something was going well.
After plucking up the courage to interject with a throw-away comment of "aah, c'est les garçons n'est-ce pas?" which I prayed was appropriate and I hadn't just called her son the love-child of Satan, I relaxed a little and tried not to look too much like someone had asked me to redefine the theory of relativity.
It turned out that my assumption all was well was not unfounded. She's keen to start an English class for the local population, who are quite keen to be able to talk to the tourists, or at least understand what they're asking for. The elaborate acts of ostenstion were my father's way of suggesting that I take it.
She seemed to like the idea.
I preferred her idea of running the class with my dad, who will be able to jump in at the "avez-vous des questions?" stage.
My dad was rather pleased that a spur-of-the-moment meeting had been so productive. I was now rather terrified that my brain might shrivel up and vapourise as soon as I stood up to take the first lesson.