Due to my poor command of the French language, I scared the heck out of my cousin.
I’m in Montréal for a family wedding. Riding from the airport to the hotel, the cab driver was listening to the radio. I heard this (if it’s in italics, it happened in French): 3 degrees tonight, 0 in the suburbs, chance of freezing. Snow likely tomorrow.
This wasn’t good news–lots of family coming into town for the wedding. Really?, I asked the taxi driver. Snow? Tomorrow? Yep, he answered.
Arriving at the hotel, I called my cousin, whose daughter is getting married this weekend. “How’s the weather where you came from today, as opposed to here?”, he asked me. (If it’s not in italics, it happened in English.) “About like here,” I said–it’s quite nice here in Montreal today–“but I understand there might be snow tomorrow.” “No. No. You’re kidding. Snow? It can’t,” says my cousin. You see, several years ago, he had another occasion here. It was April. With all of the family in town, it snowed 12 inches, and no one could get out of town the next day. “Well, maybe I misunderstood,” I said. “My French isn’t that great.”
After we hung up, I looked up the word that I had heard on the radio that described what the weather was going to be like the next day. Crap! I always mistake these two words:
- la neige: snow.
- le nuage: cloud.
Indeed, it’s going to be cloudy tomorrow, not snowy–no need to panic. I won’t soon be forgiven for the 5 years that I probably took off of my cousin’s life with that mistake, though!