Prologue

by Marinka on August 2, 2009

One of the recurrent discussions of my marriage is whether it’s fucking rude for people to speak in a foreign language in front of people who don’t speak that language or whether the non-foreign language speakers should just suck it up. It’s a big issue because Husbandrinka speaks English, French, German and Italian fluently, while I slog along in Russian, English and Latin. In addition, I have no Russian friends who come to New York and Caesar hasn’t been visiting me from Ancient Rome lately, so I haven’t been in the position to lord my fluency over him, whereas he has a constant stream of foreign friends that visit us and they have a tendency to speak all foreign even though I’ve pointed out several times that this is America and not fucking Frogland.

So here’s my prologue. Don’t worry, there’s more to come!

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One summer nine years ago when my daughter was two and my son was just an glint in my fertility doctor’s bank account, Husbandrinka and I rented a house in Biarritz for a few weeks in August. Husbandrinka’s friend from London, with his wife and two kids, rented a house with us and yet another couple and their three children stayed in the main house in town, which belonged to the wife’s mother.

Everyone, except for me, spoke French and most of the people, again, except for me, spoke German. One of the maids spoke Russian, so I could have bossed her around I suppose, but I was too busy swearing everyone to secrecy about the fact that I spoke Russian, because if there is anything that I know about Russians it’s that if they think that you think that you’re somehow “above” them, even if it’s because you’re friends with someone whose parents employ them, they will make your life unbearable. Seriously, it’s easier to deny your heritage or move or commit suicide and hope for reincarnation.

Anyway, although everyone tried to include me, inevitably they would slip into drunken French. And the good news was that once I drank enough wine, I was pretty sure that I could understand what they were saying. The bad news was that they were plotting my murder. Although I may have been paranoid.

One year ago ...

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