A Great Rendez-Vous
It's always nice meeting new people in France and this was a real pleasure. Jean Paul's father is from Corsica and therefore has an interesting accent. It is a little bit Italian, with a kind of a flare and rolling of the r's. It was a little bit difficult to understand him, but we did our best!
Jean Paul's aunt is old. I'm not kidding. There comes a time in one's life - I think it happens around 86 or 87, maybe 90 - when you are so old that it becomes a badge of honor. One feels great pride that one has "made it this far". Jean Paul's aunt has made it. Right before I took this photo she looked at Dave and said, "How old do you think I am? Come on take a guess!"
Dave told me he was terrified. "How am I supposed to answer that question?" he told me later. "It's like a woman asking 'how many months pregnant do you think I am?' You can't answer that honestly, not ever. If you say, 'Well you can't be more than nine months pregnant but you sure look it', you're liable to get slapped around, even if it's the truth. His aunt looks 90, but what if she's only 80? Plus I can't ever remember my French numbers: I could try to say 75 and it might come out 99. It's way too risky. As soon as she asked I decided there was no way I was giving a response."
So Dave just stood there like petrified wood. I was obviously going to have to answer. I calculated the risks, smiled as best I could and said, "I think you're 75."
I'd guessed right. She threw her head back in laughter. "75!" she screamed, straightening herself right up. "I am 92 years old! Do I look 92 to you?!" Dave told me later that she does in fact look 92, but no matter. Another potential cultural catastrophe had been avoided.
Dave and I both then spent a few moments assuring her that she didn't look a day over 80 and that it was "Incroyable, Merveilleux, and Stupéfiant (Amazing)!" She was very proud and everyone was happy. Then they got in their car to make the long drive to Paris. We liked them all and hope they visit us again!