La Langue Francaise

As we were weaving around the streets of downtown Geneva and I thought of the sixth house, which we have newly become the tenants of, it occurred to me to ask the children if they knew what ‘swimming pool’ was called in French. They didn’t. So I enlightened them. ‘La piscine,’ I said cheerfully, aware that I would probably be tickling their penchant for mischief. Sure enough Zazi took a moment’s pause before reminding all of us how the word ‘la’ is used in Arabic and then mutating ‘piscine’ into the much less innocuous English ‘pissing’. He then described an imaginary scenario in which an Frenchman is at pains to show an Arab man ‘la piscine’ but the Arab keeps misunderstanding the phrase to mean that he is being told not to urinate into the swimming pool. The back seat of the car was delighted with the joke and there were great whoops of laughter.

Today Mac took the joke a level further. Brace yourselves: after the above-mentioned incident, the poor Arab repeats, ‘La pissing?’ to which the Frenchman replies, ‘Oui, oui!’ The Arab is alarmed at this turn of events and protests, ‘No wee-wee! La wee-wee!’

The entire back seat is in fits of laughter as we continue chugging along the streets.

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