plasticine man with breadstick

I Seek Him Here, I Seek Him There [Obligations Mutuelles Ep.11]

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Plasticine man with baguette

Back story

Still ungainfully unemployed, and with Monsieur long gone from my life (oh la profonde tristesse), I can focus on the bigger picture. Tout est bon!

Initially of course, I’ve had to overcome my little remaining issue: being to rid myself of a lingering French accent/phrase fetish. This developed from attending our Australian Centrelink’s compulsory, jobsearch training, under Monsieur’s nuanced tutelage.

But then Monsieur’s contract was cut, leaving we unemployables gratefully acquitted – from Monsieur’s unrelenting reminders of our jobseeking incompetencies.

From spending countless class hours with this Frenchman, listening to his drivel on job search FUN?damentals, and devouring his baguettes, I so needed a program to wean myself off a bothersome new obsession for French buns and intonations.

The program

A sense of normality has been achieved, by working my way through the French film section, at my local video shop. And, to be frank, I’m now OVER the French, and should Centrelink enforce that I attend a re-run of job search classes, under the tutelage of someone who enunciates like Bob Kata, or Bob Hawke – I AM READY.

The French can have their films, carb-rich baguettes, and obnoxious self-help books; that tell us with superiority, Why French Women Don’t Get Fat? …..and why the rest of the world should just give up and get their stomach’s stapled. Such supreme arrogance.

We just don’t need the French to tell us that it’s all about portion size, and to take the stairs instead of the lift, whenever we visit la place Georges Pompidou, or Eiffel Tower.

Who needs them!?

Well actually, tuning into the French news on SBS TV, does remind me how much we do need them. I could watch those très beaux hommes français all day. Even though I don’t understand a word of it.

What I do understand is the way, one particular beaux hommes, shows his passionate interest in subjects, by almost grabbing both sides of the news desk, and firmly maintaining a seated semi-star-jump position. It works for me. But would it work for Peter Hitchener?

Unfortunately, our only Australian equivalent would be the ABC’s Tony Jones (particularly alluring when – on Q&A – he pronounces Anthony Albanese’s surname with the correct Italian intonation. Love that).

Person of interest

Admittedly, every now and then, when I do see a certain type of male, with a particular stance – perhaps waiting in a Safeway, 8 items or less queue, or, at the petrol station – I have to take a second peek.

Could that be Monsieur over there? For he has such a generic, 5 o’clock shadowed, swarthy, enigmatic, European look. And from the rear (his rear), there are so many that look like him.

One day, I thought, “Ah! There he is!”


And perhaps finally, we can have that long overdue “one on one” ….about my employment barriers.

But then, a peanut got in the way

Monsieur did say his parents and brother (perhaps a twin?!! ooh la la) live in my neck of the woods, and go shopping at the mall that I frequent. Coincidentally, it’s the very same mall where I recently tripped … on a peanut – of all things.

There I was minding my own business, intently making a bee-line for the supermarket.

I had to get provisions for my mother – who was recovering in hospital from a knee operation. And before I knew it, I’d ended up – like an upturned baby(?) elephant – flat on my back, legs splayed, in front of a peanut stand.

And that’s as good as it gets

As two people kindly helped me up, I spotted the culprit peanut missile – just a few feet away. Which proves that you don’t need to have a 21st century peanut allergy, to be almost killed by one.

To the peanut stall holder, feeling oh so stupid, shocked, and embarrassed – all I could think to say, to express annoyance was: “I’d keep an eye on those peanuts of yours, if I were you!”

But we can’t all be Judge Judy, at the drop of a hat. I digress.

Meantime, as for Monsieur-spotting, when I did encounter this bloke in the supermarket, I saw a true likeness. I thought surely it can’t be him.

It MUST be him.

I so wanted it to be HIM!

And, there he was, with his face obscured by a baseball cap, and a trolley loaded up with packs of frozen fish fingers, Herbert Adams pies, Homebrand chocolate Bavarian cake, Spam, boxed donuts, Poise Super(?), White Crow Ketchup, and Thousand Island dressing. BUT ….. not one freshly baked baguette! The fraud.

So many contradictions.

It wasn’t the Monsieur I knew.

And that skinny Barbie clone with him, I surmised to be his wife/daughter?

Though most likely … mistress. Typical!

And such a cute little kiddy (a mini-Monsieur!) tagging along behind them.

To get a better look, I edged closer toward the check-out, where “Monsieur” stood next in line to be served. And as my interest, and body temperature went up several notches, I grabbed a copy of the Woman’s Day, to use as a fan, and hide behind.

I pretended to read a quintessential article for the woman-of-a-certain-age: “How Kerri-Anne Kennerley Drops A Decade In 5 Easy Steps”.

As a mature-age jobseeker competing with perky hipsters, this was the information I desperately needed. I buy the mag.

However, I soon overhear Monsieur bluntly say to Barbie, “Now look m*le. I f*ckin told ya, I’m not buyin’ any of that free-range f*ckin gluten-free f*ckin soya sh*t. How often do I f*ckin have to tell ya!”

From so few words, I discover I’ve been wasting my time trailing, not Monsieur (damn it!) but an Eastern suburbs super-bogan, oompa-loompa (dressed up as New-Age, faux-Euro, metro-sexual, lamb).

C’est la vie.

No bother. It could be worse. For, at this stage – I know that if I hadn’t worked on my issue – I could by now, be a full blown, wildly deranged, middle-aged stalker-spinster.

But of course I’m nowhere near that.

Am I?

Related Posts:

Being told how to suck eggs est tres bon: when told in a French accent [Ep.1]
More mutual obligations with Monsieur [Ep.2]
Six modules with Monsieur and still counting [Ep.3]
The unbearable lightness of being in Monsieur’s unemployables class [Ep.4]
It’s not always about me, Monsieur [Ep.5]
Ma cherie Monsieur: this week it is all about moi [Ep.6]
Voyages without Monsieur [Ep.7]
Monsieur, don’t leave us this way [Ep.8]
The Supermoon and Monsieur [Ep. 9]

Author: Carmen Neutral

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