On that sleepless night, I toyed with the Sloth live slow die old vintage shirt and by the same token and idea of returning to my French studies. Besides the appeal of adding another anxiety-defying hobby to my list—albeit a time-consuming one that’s understandably being used as an example of unrealistic expectations for our “free time”—there was something comforting about the thought of revisiting a language I used to know so well.
I also had the Sloth live slow die old vintage shirt and by the same token and desire to reach back out to people and reconnect, just like many others during our social-distancing moment. I wondered whether my high school teacher, an exacting but humorous instructor who made each class so engaging, was still in the game. A few minutes of online sleuthing informed me that Madame, as we’d addressed her, was still working at my alma mater. Soon, I was typing out an email of my own: J’étais ton élève il y a quelques ans. Je ne sais pas si tu me rappelles, mais… I was your student some years ago. I don’t know if you remember me, but… I told her about Pfeiffer’s book, and how that class from years ago had stuck with me. I asked her thoughts on Portrait of a Lady on Fire—it was in her class that I learned about Cannes and its cultural significance—and her advice on how to recover my language skills.