The Art of Conversation with French Houseplants

At parties, I like to greet strangers by saying, “Is that your real hair?”  I find this is a good way to get to know a person.  If it is their real hair, then great.  They tell me me how they feel about their particular haircut or hair color.  And, if it isn’t, they usually have an interesting story to tell that they definitely feel like sharing with me.  I can tell they like me and this non-intrusive question by the way they keep looking around the room. They are probably thinking, “Wow.  Out of all these people, I get to talk to her.  What luck!”  After a very short time, they tend to get thirsty though and excuse themselves to get another drink.  I don’t know why but I really seem to make people at parties very thirsty.

Since marrying a French person, my social circle has expanded to include many French people who live in Buffalo.  I enjoy chatting with mes amis at these tres exclusive French parties that we attend.  I like going because some of the time I have no idea what anyone is saying so then I just look around the room and study the houseplants or the couch cushions or the way the rugs are angled on the floor.  This provides much entertainment and furthers my cultural understand of the French.  You can really tell a lot about a culture by how often they water their houseplants.

Speaking of houseplants, when Vincent and I were first dating, he asked me to take care of his houseplant while he went to a small island off of Africa.  This seemed like a normal situation to me, so I declared I would not let him down.  I quickly named the house plant, Cecilia and gave her some water and put her on my desk where there was lots of light.  Then, when he came back from this small island, he found a very healthy plant who was happy to see him.

However, since then, Vincent never really told me that I was still taking care of Cecilia.  I had thought that my responsibilities ended when he returned to the States, so, I kind of, j’ai oublié. . .I forgot.  Then Vincent would say things about Cecilia’s state of health, like, “Does she seem healthy?  Is she thirsty?  Have you watered her lately?”   However, it was never clear to me that he thought I was still Cecilia’s main caretaker.  Apparently, when the French ask you to one time take care of their plant because they will be gone for like a week, they really mean you are now this plant’s parent.  I have included a photo of current day Cecilia.  Please do not let small children see this picture as it is rather grisly.  

I am much better with people than houseplants though.  Although I do talk to the houseplants and practice excellent conversation that I can use with my French friends.  For instance, “Bonjour mon petite fougère.  Voudrais-tu du l’eau? Pourquoi, oui!  Bien sure!  Tu voudrais du l’eau!”  I use this same line when French people enter my house.  The only time it has been a success is when my French amis and I went running in the Turkey Trot.  They were very thirsty and they did want some water.  You see the houseplant conversation had worked very well.  They also maybe thought that Americans call each other ferns after competing in sport events.  I am fine with this confusion.

Okay, I know you said you had to go hem your jeans.  I have a Pétanque game scheduled at two so I really must jet too.  I guess we’re all busy.  Au revoir mon ami and joyeux noel!



3 thoughts on “The Art of Conversation with French Houseplants

  1. solinelapatate says:

    In France, we say ” de l’eau” and “bien sure” is spell ” bien sûr”!
    ( sorry, I just speak a little bit of English, you may don’t understand me!)

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