: mishap, mischance, misadventure
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse
Almost as soon as our new "France United" president was elected, things fell apart here at home. The painful mésaventure happened last night, here in our kitchen. As certain accidents go, it was both bizarre and comical (with all due respect to the injured one).
Jean-Marc had opened the kitchen cupboard to check on the new mousetrap he had set, using a big hunk of Munster* for the tempting appât. I don't like cruel mousetraps or the fact that I—having unwittingly shopped for the cheese—have contributed to a souris's demise , so it should have come as a relief to learn that the mouse got away. As it was, I was unaware of the mouse's luck or that Jean-Marc had set another trap (the details of the accident would soon be revealed as we sped to the emergency room...).
From my vantage point, I saw a man opening a cupboard door, as if to toss something into the recycle bin beyond. Nothing unusual apart from the high-pitched scream that followed:
AÏE AÏE AÏE AÏE AÏE !!!!
My first thought was that Jean-Marc had pinched his finger while shutting the cabinet door (happens to me from time to time only I never scream like that!)
"Est-ce que ça-va, Cheri?" I asked, feeling somewhat smug about my own ability to tolerate pain.
AÏE AÏE AÏE! "C'est pas vrai!" Jean-Marc cried. "I've dislocated my shoulder again!"
The freak accident happened when Jean-Marc went to reach for the cheeseless trap. The mouse had succeeded in getting l'appât, leaving the trap springily intact. As Jean-Marc reached for it it snapped. Startled from the snapping he jumped, yanking his arm back before his finger got caught in the apparatus. It was the unusual jerking movement that caused his already troubled shoulder to dislocate.
After three hours at les urgences in Orange, Jean-Marc woke from his morphine-induced sleep. Like the previous visit, it took four assistants to put his shoulder back into place.
At two-thirty a.m. we pulled into our driveway. The crickets were singing beneath the bright moon which lighted the path to our front door. As we walked, I looked over at my one-armed man, whose upper body was wrapped in a tight elastic bandage.
In contrast to the peaceful night, my mind raced. I felt that familiar tightening sensation in my throat. The alarm would sound in three hours' time and the race would begin again: this time without a second driver (to chauffeur the kids back and forth), without a bottler (we have 8,000 units of wine to bottle this week) and without an expressive speaker (Tuesday's wine-tasting has grown to 30 guests!).
On second thought, knowing my husband he will be just as eloquent, even with only one arm to wave around while talking wine. Up to me to refill glasses 120 times—should he decide to serve 4 wines!
"Tout se passera bien. Ne t'inquiète pas," Jean-Marc offered, as I shared my soucis. To eloquence I think we can add that he's got terrific reassurance!
Bon rétablissement, Chief Grape!
To respond to this story or to any item in this letter, thanks for using the comments box.
If you like, you can read about the previous shoulder dislocation... and the one before that, too!
la mésaventure = mishap
l'appât (m) = bait
la souris = mouse
aïe! = ouch! ow!
est-ce que ça-va cheri? = are you okay, dear?
c'est pas vrai! (ce n'est pas vrai) = it can't be true!
les urgences = the emergency room
les soucis = worries
Tout se passera bien. Ne t'inquiète pas = Everything will work out fine. Don't worry.
bon rétablissement! = get well soon!
*Did you know?
*The name "Munster" comes from the word "monastère" (monastery), the peasants having taken the habit of paying part of their taxes to the Ducs of Lorraine, by giving up some of their cheese.
Le nom de « Munster » vient du mot « monastère », les paysans ayant pris l'habitude de régler une partie de leurs impôts aux ducs de Lorraine en livrant ce fromage. --from French Wikipedia
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety