Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why I have a sudden urge to watch The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

When my new French pupil e-mailed that she wanted to learn French because her boyfriend spoke French, was French, was the grandson of a famous French deep sea diver and underwater explorer, in fact, I didn't think much of it. When I arrived at their penthouse apartment and saw a stack of mail, saw that name, his name, it still didn't click. She introduced us, and I tried to keep my cool. "You can speak French to her," she kept saying, as I put on a wide smile and tried not to look too deer-in-the-headlights. If there's anything more anxiety-producing than having to speak French to an actual French person for the first time, it's having to speak French to a French person who also speaks English perfectly, and knowing that as I am here on a dollars-per-hour basis, I will necessarily be judged. He, perhaps perceiving my discomfort, or not wishing to hear his mother tongue potentially mangled by an American mouth, thankfully demurred. "You want me to test her already?" he joked. "This is your thing, I'm going to stay out of it." And thankfully, as she was just as fearful as I was of exposing herself to potential accent snobbery and that particularly scalding brand of French scorn, she led me to the seclusion of their spacious roof deck where we could work in private. (View of the Statue of Liberty and waterfalls included, gratis).

It wasn't until I got home and thought to perform a quick Google search that I realized the significance of what had just happened. This man, as I have said, is the grandson of France's most famous undersea explorer and documentarian, and I can't say which one, only that it rhymes with Fraques Frousteau. But I had no idea that in addition to that he is also a documentarian and underwater explorer in his own right, that a quick Google search would turn up pages and pages of articles and images, that he had been named Someone's Sexiest Something-Or-Other. I mean, the man has his own Wikipedia entry. Had I known that I probably would have high-tailed it out of there and never looked back. I'm supposed to teach his girlfriend French? Mother of pearl.

I think I'm out of my league. You might even say I'm about 20,000 leagues out of my...league. Yeah. I'm off to work on some better underwater puns. Bad aquatic wordplay makes me so crabby. Ok, ok, I'll stop. I can see that if I keep going I'll be making anemones. And I wouldn't want to jump the shark. Ok, now I'm just fishing for compliments, so I'll clam up. Sea you later!


  1. OMFG that is soooo exciting!!! I'm going to get all diabolical here and say that you should purposely teach the gf really shoddy French so that he realizes how useless she is and subsequently falls for you, at which time you guys run away to some atoll to study marine life or whatev's...and I become your assistant and you bring me with you.

  2. Haha! I had no idea you were such a Fraques Frousteau fan, Georgia. But actually I think teaching her shoddy French would probably backfire, as he perhaps not so jokingly indicated to me today that we would see how good my accent is (or isn't) by seeing how good her accent is (or isn't). No pressure there! Yikes!

  3. yeah. i'll keep an eye out. sounds like u run in much fancier circles than i do, anyway.

    for how long?

  4. Not really sure. Probably until September or so.

  5. WOW!!!! That's wild!

    Hey Grumpy, this wouldn't be the time for me to try to get you two together, would it?

  6. And for all this to happen during Shark Week!

    One thought: You have no reason to feel as if you're out of your depth atoll.


  7. Wowsers. I couldn't help but consult Google on this guy - he is a bit of a hunky hunk. Very cool!

    (P.S. Is it just me, or is it intimidating to tutor the super-wealthy? I always feel a little Eliza Doolittle-ish rolling up to some multi-million dollar home in my used Toyota and Target duds.)

  8. yeah dawn we know how well that went last time around.

  9. But Grumpy, this is RACHEL we're talking about...

  10. The way I see it is this...

    Rachel, you're in NYC for a while. Grumpy's in NYC.
    Why (as in the theme of your blog) shouldn't you hang out a bit?

    You're funny.
    He's funny.
    You're smart.
    He's smart.


    You never know.

    OK, Grumps, I'm sorry! I can't help myself sometimes!!!! I can't possibly make the same mistake twice.

    Just one cup of coffee. Or tea. Or iced tea!


  11. or a motorcyle ride?

    rachel, put some lotion on your ears. NY summers are hotter than ya think. You're not in Boston, anymore.