My red Whirlpool duet was spinning in harmony in my French-Alabama laundry room. Jim was peering out the window at the neighbor’s dark windows while I folded my soft, white towels. Jim said he wondered about the neighbors and hoped they were o.k. I let him know they were fine since I saw them leave in the car with someone the day before. Not satisfied with that answer, Jim said, “Well, you don’t know, maybe it was an alien that picked them up.” I told him they were happy, dressed nicely and everyone was on friendly terms – no strange aliens! He muttered under his breath, “I would pay somebody to take me away sometimes.” Not letting this silly suggestion go unnoticed, I said, “I heard that! Just why would you want to leave the sweet town of Opp?”
He breezed along with this suggestion, “Oh, I just wish I could be carried away to a lush, mountainous, tropical island – a French island with baguettes that you would like. I would sway in a hammock tied between palm trees with one foot in the powdery, soft, white sand and feel the warm breezes gently caressing my nearly perfect body.”
“Jim, I’m impressed! You truly have a way with words. You really had me going there except with the fictional part about your nearly perfect body. I’m amazed. I think I will let you take over the writing for a while. I need a rest. ” Jim looked a little pale and said he didn’t know anything to write about. “Just write on a subject you like. For instance, you like science fiction. You’ve watched every Star Trek show like a zillion times. For starters you will need characters for your story.” Jim suggested R2D2 and Chewbaca. “You have to make up your own! You can’t use them, but you could use another mechanical character. What’s your idea on that?” Jim looked at my red Whirlpool washer and said, “Ruby Red, the Whirlpool – the toughest woman in the dirty underworld!”
I saved him with some legal advice: “You cannot use Whirlpool!” Jim changed her name to – “Big Ruby Red Spinlaker”. I asked Jim about a substitute for Chewbaca, another hairy character, and he had a different proposal. “I was thinking more along the lines of a sexy, he-man character, tough yet appealing, like Indiana Jones, but Indiana Jim instead.”
Holding my head in my hands and trying not to crack up in laughter at this preposterous idea I said, “Moving along… What’s the plot? What’s your storyline for Big Ruby Red and the sexy Indiana Jim?”
Jim had this one cooked up also. He said, “We could warn the islanders that the water is disappearing, the beach is eroding and the animals are endangered. Big changes are coming in the climate.” I nixed that one, “People don’t want to listen to that. It’s a hard-sell! OK, I’m going to take a rest. When I finish MY WORK, you can work in my office.” Jim inserted a question, “Can I have a big fancy desk?” “No, you can use my puny one, and you can start NOW!” Jim turned and walked to his lounge chair in front of the television and said, “I’ll just watch a few Star Trek shows, purely for research. You know Jean-Luc Picard was born in France! His brother has a vineyard. ” May the force be with you, Alabama Jim!
If I don’t die of fright, I will be speaking to a nice group in Birmingham about my book “A French Opportunity”. I asked the lovely Kristin Espinasse for pointers, and she surprised me with a feature on her website. A large number of her readers kindly sent their advice. You can read their comments at: www.French-Word-A-Day.com
Could you share your thoughts with me in the comments section here at A French Opportunity? What should I tell them? I’m such a light-weight compared to other speakers.