by jemma margaret
There are professions in French with both a male and a female counterpart, l’acteur/l’actrice (I guess we have that one in English too), le facteur/la factrice, le boucher/la bouchère, etc.
Other professions do not differentiate, for instance, a thief is always masculine.
However, this thief was an old lady.
We were in the library this afternoon. I sat reading a book about the history of mathematics (surprise, surprise). She was pretty severely hunched over with sensible (read: ugly) brown shoes, suspiciously dark hair, and a large leopard print bag. She slowly walked over to the journal section and picked up a copy of Le Parisien. I stopped snooping and returned to my book.
The journal selection at the library is impressive. They carry copies of The Believer. There are nice chairs and it was a gloriously sunny day. I was getting a little sleepy.
Then, all of a sudden (this is where we change tenses from imparfait to passé composé, don’t you know), “RRRRRIP!” (I need to work on my onomatopoeias).
That old lady had just torn out the middle section of the newspaper! Fascinated, I watched her put it carefully into her bag, where I noted there were many other newspaper pages also stored. She then slowly slowly refolded the paper, stood up, sat back down (not enough momentum), stood up again, and walked over to the shelf where she replaced this paper and took out another. I took some notes in the back of my notebook. No one else seemed to care.
I wanted to stay and see if she would do it again, but instead I went home and took a nap.