My high school French teacher and me, we didn’t get along so much.

I adored her at first. She had a large head accented by wearing her hair up in fin de siecle fashion and a prim little body wound to the snapping point with nervous energy. I was a stoner with a twelve string Rickenbacker guitar and couldn’t learn declensions. My personal interpreters/groupies were going to handle all that foreign language shit when I moved into a converted timber roof church while I continued to get high and learn to play the baroque organ.

She couldn’t follow this.

But I knew what she was thinking, and she knew what I was thinking and it was a grim mirror of love where you’re always finishing each other’s sentences. Unless they’re in French. Then one of you is standing up in front of the class finishing the sentence she started with the idea that you would finish it but no, you, Laurent (because that is the name you chose for your French id) “Do not bother to study even some.”

When I first saw this image, Manet’s Olympia, it closed one of those loops of paranoia that haunted me in my pot smoking life. This was my French teacher, naked, giving me that look, half pity, half disgust. She’s so pissed off it’s got the maidservant on edge.

I could almost hear her hiss, “You have missed so much not learning your verbs.”

I think this is why I took up painting.

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