Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


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Can’t be bothered to find an idea about which to bother

I’m posting later than usual today ’cause, you know… uhn. Sometimes it’s hard to get excited about… bleh. You just feel like sitting… oof.

This kind of ennui is universal… which is why there are so many fun ways to describe it! Yay for learning!

In my French class yesterday, somehow the phrase avoir la flemme came up and when my teacher described is as that feeling of [slumped shoulders, slouchy posture] I knew exactly what she was talking about and wrote dar pereza in my notes.

When I was teaching English, dar pereza was something that came up a lot because Spaniards are lazy bastards but I always forgot to look up the English version of this phrase since in my mind I just understood. Also: I’m Spanish (see previous sentence).

When I finally got around to it (it only took like, a year) whatever dictionary said “can’t be bothered” which is totally British English to me. I’m not sure how much longer after that I hit upon the classic Americanism of “not feeling like doing something” which I think accurately captures the personal conviction of the average American to not be productive just ’cause.

Now, let’s look at some fun etymology! Flemme is “laziness, a taste for idleness” so “having” it makes sense in this case. Pereza is “negligence, boredom or neglect of obligations” so this one works too. Interestingly, the Spanish word for a sloth is perezoso an accurate way to describe a person who exhibits this kind of behavior.

What I really like is that the Spanish way to express this idea makes it clear the reason for lack of motivation comes from the object or task, not the person experiencing it. Whatever me da [gives me] pereza. It’s as if the person can’t be blamed for not doing X since it’s clearly X’s fault for being so incredibly tedious. Why is this so great? It’s another piece of evidence in my ongoing quest to empirically prove that Spaniards are in fact lazy bastards.

Moral of the story: even when I set out to not accomplish something, I do anyway. It’s the American go-getter in me that made me do it.


Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

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