I really suck at analyzing texts, it seems. For a long time, I’ve been preparing for my philosophy conference. We only get funding to visit one conference during this protracted budget crisis, so conferences have to be picked carefully. I’ve been dying to branch out into philosophy for a while. The Spanish philosopher whose work I discuss in my presentation will be at the conference, and I really wanted to listen to him, ask questions, and make an impression.
The conference committee took forever to send us a program. So I only discovered the horrible truth about this conference today when I finally received the program.
There had been hints, though. I could have guessed if only I’d paid attention. I got a pre-registration e-mail a while ago, which said that the registration fees would cover the reception, the lunch buffet, and health breaks.
Got it? Health breaks. I should have known right then and there. Who the hell offers health breaks? English-speakers give you coffee breaks. Spanish-speakers offer cigarette breaks. Only the French-speakers, may God be kind to them and their Mamma, schedule health breaks instead.
So finally I get the program of the conference, and as you must have guessed by now, it is in French. The entire flapping conference is in French. Except the talks by yours truly and a scholar from British Columbia. The opening and closing remarks, all but two of the talks, the presentation by the philosopher himself – everything is in French. The philosopher will present a new edition of his most recent book. Translated into French. And during the five years I lived in Quebec, I lost my spoken French completely. I will not be able to understand a word spoken at that conference. Unless it is spoken by me and the fellow sufferer from British Columbia.
The most annoying thing is that the conference’s title is in English, the promotional materials and the call for papers were in English, the conference takes place in Ottawa, and the organizer’s name is Spanish. Of course, the call for papers did say, “Papers will be accepted in English, French, and Spanish.” But we are talking about Canada, so I thought that this was simply the question of both official languages making it to the list.
And now I will feel like a total idiot, sitting there, listening to talks that I can’t even understand. Imagine what will happen if somebody starts asking me questions in French. That is going to be embarrassing.
Câlice de crisse de tabarnak d’ostie de ciboire du saint-sacement!! Tabarnak!!