Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On retaining and recalling past experience (in short, a memory)

The class opened like any other class opened. The teacher asked no question to the fact that four new students, apparently foreign students, were present. He seemed to be a man that asked surprisingly few questions at all. “Surprisingly”, since his subject was philosophy, where, after all, the main point is to ask (and occasionally answer) questions.

“Philosophy” meant an endless flow of words about the life and work of Jean Paul Sartre. I remember wondering if the teacher ever took breaks, say, to breathe; and I remember being impressed by myself (and my French) that I was able to understand most of what he was saying. At that point I understood probably 90% of all French I heard or read, but I didn’t speak much. Today I’m ashamed to say I do neither.

The class could have been a boring one – should have, even – but in reality is wasn’t so bad. I know I found it both educational and interesting, though somewhat monotone. I wasn’t at all impressed by the teaching methods employed by that particular professeur.

Today, five years later, I don’t remember much from the class, except a rather comical situation. The classroom was on the attic floor, where all the hot air from the floors below seemed to gather. The conditions were ripe for the students’ minds to start drifting, and drift they probably did. In a feeble attempt to prevent this, someone had opened a window – but in reality it only promoted it, as no city can give alluring sounds like Paris; especially in springtime.

No student spoke during the class, until one of the boys suddenly exclaimed with a surprised voice: “Monsieur, un chat!” And indeed, a cat it was. A small, black and white cat had strayed up to the roof of the grand old building, and now it had discovered an open window. The cat only joined the class for a few minutes before it was hoisted out through the same window it had entered. However, I am sure that most of the students in that class, like me, remember the cat far better than the life and philosophy of a certain Monsieur Sartre.

And just to be clear - this isn't the cat in question. This cat is just a pretty one that Wikipedia lent me.
The other picture is, however,  from Paris, though not from that trip. I've done Paris a lot :)


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think I'd have been so surprised to see a cat coming off a roof that I'd have been good for nothing the rest of the class!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Watery Tart said...

I had a cat who was a philosopher once. Mostly she was a Adam Smith purist (I have a picture of her rolling in money) but she could be fairly persuasive. (I tried to write Samuel Adams there, which shows my OWN philosophical bent)

Say... how'd you get the burrow FB thingamabob up? I need to get me one of those.

Cruella Collett said...

Elizabeth - I think that by the time this happened, none of us were good for anything anyway ;)

Tami - I love the idea of a philosopher cat, even if she's a Adam Smither (though actually, there is more to Smith than just making money, or so I've been told. By people who like to make money, naturally...)

The Burrow thingamabob (*snort*) - there's a link from the Burrow Facebook Page that says "add thingamabob to your site" (actually, it's says "add fanbox to your site"), right up at the top, under the Burrow logo. It appears that this is only an option from the account where I'm an admin, or at least I think so - sometimes Piratey English is very confusing... Once you've clicked the link it'll take you through the steps.

What I need to learn, is how to add tags to my images so that when you move the cursor over it, it can show where the picture is taken from. I've seen this on Elizabeth's blog, so maybe I should ask her?

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