Thursday, February 5, 2009

Why you have to read between the lines

I sent a text to the colleague I went out with last Saturday, because I know he's being "inspected" tomorrow, which involves a government inspector from l'Education Nationale sitting in on his class and evaluating him, an experience I imagine must be mildly nerve-wracking, to say the least. "Enjoy your day off today," I typed, "and good luck tomorrow!"

"Oh, that's nice of you," he replied. "I would invite you to have a drink with me to celebrate the end of the inspection."

Well, yay! I thought. I mean, I think...? What is that pesky conditional doing in there? I would invite you? Is this a lost in translation thing? Damn French! Given the circumstances, I had no idea how to reply. Ok, let's think about this, I thought. Either he's saying 'I would like to invite you to have a drink with me,' or he's saying 'I would like to invite you to have a drink with me but...' Because the conditional does usually imply that pesky but. I would invite you to have a drink with me but I have to work Saturday morning, for example, which I know that he does. So I replied the only way I could have: "Well, I would accept," I said, smiley face and all.

"Cool," he said (smiley face). "Talk to you soon."

I congratulated myself for interpreting correctly and started planning my date outfit for tomorrow.

But then, then! I was on the train home, pulling into the station where I have to change trains to the local, and where he gets on the train I just got off that goes direct to Paris. And who did I see out the window...A flutter went through my body as the train pulled to a stop. By the time I got off though, he had already gotten on a car further down, and so I pulled out my cell phone once again, and sent him a text: "I just saw you from the train," I typed (smiley face).

"Ohhh, I didn't see you!" he replied. "Sniff. Well, we'll catch up on Tuesday. Have a good night."

...Tuesday?! (The one day a week we see each other at school). What happened to 'I would invite you to have a drink'?! I guess that but was implied after all... But seriously, who sends cryptic messages like that, where the meaning of the sentences hinges on one lousy 's'? (Je t'inviterai=I will invite you vs. je t'inviterais=I would invite you).

I was feeling so bummed afterward that I came home and cancelled on a new guy I was supposed to go out with tonight. In my defense, I really didn't want to go out with him in the first place and only agreed because I had kept putting him off for so long, but in the end he was just too damn persistent. I've gone on enough internet dates at this point (oh my god, so many) that I know that when I get that panicky oh shit feeling prior to a date, it never bodes well. It was also pretty stupid of me to think that I would be up to getting on a train to Paris and going out after spending an entire day at school and an hour and a half on trains already today. Really, I don't know what I was thinking. The problem was that to get out of this I needed an excuse that would allow me to politely say, "I'm sorry, but I can't see you tonight, or also, ever." I decided I would pull the crazy card, if I had to, even borrowing the "I have problems in my life" line, if it came down to it. Let him think that he dodged a bullet.

And so I sent him a text, of course. "I am not doing well at the moment," I began, being purposely vague and at the same time, not untruthful, "and I don't feel like going out. I regret that I can't see you tonight."

"I hope it's not serious," he replied. "Take care of yourself. Let me know when you want to get a drink together; it would be a joy."

So, in the end I got my way and I'm home cozy with my computer tonight. So why do I feel like such an asshole?


  1. Cute school boy is UN-conditionally crazy, ha ha, get it? get it?
    Who DOES that, 'oh I WOULD invite you...' I think you need to consult good old Fred on this one.

    Can I share my latest texting adventure? Here's my exchange with G. today:
    He texts me (in English):

    Hi miss! hope you're fine, i didn't call u this week for fear of being annoying. i don't know what is goin'on for us, the only thin i know it's that i really like u and since last time i saw u i didn't spend a day without thinkin of u...i hope that i'll see you again: time will tell...take care, kiss :)

    (he writes long texts. and it seems like he speaks good English, right? "time will tell"?)

    I respond:

    Hey, I was sick anyway. Maybe I'll see you this weekend, biz

    (Trying to play it cool, after your warnings.)

    Then I receive this:

    Ok...sorry for the 'misconception', i was thinkin about something else, but if it's that it's cool! (joke!)...take care of u Canaan...see u :)

    Explain me that. Man I hate texting sometimes.

  2. haha gotta love text messages eh? I remember about 3 months after I started dating Max, I was at home alone in my lycée apartment (slash prison cell) and I got a text saying "ich liebe dich" and I was like WTF? That doesnt look like french and it's certainly not english! Canadian kids don't get to take german in school so I had to wait til the next day in the lycée to bust out the german/english dictionary to find my frenchie had texted me (for the first time): "I love you". :)

  3. Canaan- Oh believe me, I got both my roommates in on that action. They concluded that it was a typo, and that it should have said "I will invite you to have a drink," but it will be at some vague, as yet undetermined time in the future. And they both agreed that yes, it was still a weird way to say it. Sigh.

    Crystal- Oh my gosh! I don't know what I would do if I got my first I love you as a text and in a language I don't speak! That certainly is creative. :)

  4. its lucky you didnt say, oh i would have let you get to 2nd base. lets ban texting!!!!!

  5. canaan- when you get a text saying they have thought about you everyday, thats not the time to play it cool....give the guy a bone for gods sake! he is cute, right?

  6. I would have liked to understand what's going on here.