After every French driving Code lesson I call Copain. And during every conversation this is how it goes:
"Hi, it's me. I just finished the Code."
"Oh great! So you only missed 4! Almost there!"
It always strikes me as strange that he asks me how many, expecting that I will tell him how many I got wrong. But then, I had this conversation with F, Copain's colleague and friend who came over to our house after making it to the semi-finals at the Féstival International des Jeux in Cannes (it's a nerd-fest of card and strategy game-players, more on that later...):
"Salut F, ca va?"
"Oui, ca va - et toi, what did you do today?"
"Oh, I just got back from the stupid Code."
Then Copain piped in lest F misunderstand - she means 35 bon réponses - not faux.
And then, it hit me - why do the French always focus on the negative or the faux? Why do they expect me to tell them how many I got wrong instead of how many I got right (which is more exciting to hear anyways right?!). Who spat in their camembert so many years ago to give them such a dire outlook on life?
Funnily enough, I know that they accuse us Americans of being too bubble gum happy all the time à la Hello my name is KimberlyandI'mgoingtobeyourservertoday! They call us "faux" - or fake- not "incorrect" like the other French meaning of faux. But I think they've got it all faux. I'll take the faux American mega-watt smile over the French grimace, glare and exasperated soufle anyday. We may be a faux that they find hard to swallow- but they focus on the faux all too often.