Last week we went to Yellowstone. I spent part of the time writhing in misery because I had a terrible sinus infection and fever and chose to stay back in the (very hot) tent trailer while the others went sight-seeing (picture me wetting and re-wetting a washcloth to place on my stomach in a vain effort to cool down). But it was nice (I love camping with the kids and enjoy Yellowstone) and dirty and the kids had a blast. I am buried in laundry, of course.
At one point we were stuck in a major traffic jam. We finally crept up to the place that was causing all the trouble and found that people were getting out of their cars to see a bear. The bear was far enough away, and up in a tree curled up, so that all we really saw was a black blob. I didn’t think it was worth all the time and trouble of parking and getting out. But my mother-in-law, who loves bears and loves Yellowstone, and lives in the hope of seeing a bear every time she goes, was happy to see it and I was glad for her. One thing that made me laugh, though, was one car that crept by: it was driven by a middle-aged man trying desperately to see the bear, craning his head out the window, etc. His passenger, probably his wife, was obviously not interested in the bear. Because her nose was two inches away from a book. Which was, of course, Harry Potter #7. I hope she has pleasant memories of her time in Yellowstone.
There are a lot of people from other countries in Yellowstone. Many of them spoke French. I used to speak French. So here I am in the bathroom stall, listening to a mother and her daughter speaking French. My heart leaps—hey, that’s MY foreign language! Hey! And so I spend the next ten minutes in the stall trying to make a sentence, any sentence. By the time I figure out how to say, “I have forgotten all my French,” they have left the bathroom. So that’s the benefit of all those years in college: that when I hear French, I can say, loud and clear (and in English), “Hey! That’s French!” (“Ca c’est francais?” “Est-ce francais?” “Je suis une stupide americaine?”)