Thursday, November 8, 2007

Soeur Florence and Soeur Monique

Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, I got to thinking about the two nuns who ran my dormitory in France. At first glance, you wouldn't know that Soeur Florence was a nun. She had just turned 40, had a very short haircut, wore jeans, sneakers and a sweater every day, and was very outgoing. Soeur Monique, on the other hand, had more traditional nun-like qualities about her. She was an older woman, close to retirement, a good deal shorter than Soeur Florence and a good deal less demonstrative, too.

I think that this story sums up their personality differences quite nicely:

It was the morning of my father's birthday. I had forgotten to buy a phone card the day before, so I ran down the stairs and around the corner to the tabac to pick one up. I was gone all of five minutes.

The second I put my hand on the doorknob to my room, I knew something was wrong. Once the door was open, it took a few minutes for me to process what I was seeing.

There was a sea of smelly water in my floor, populated with large, mushy white islands. An enormous hole was in the middle of the ceiling, and water was gushing out of it. I grabbed my teddy bear and rescued him from being drowned, and then I ran to the hall phone to call Soeur Florence.

(Translated from the original French:)

"Hi, Soeur Florence, this is Kitty."
"Oh, hi, Kitty! What can I do for you?"
"Well, there's a really big hole in my ceiling."
"Okay, well, I'll come around and have a look at it in about fifteen minutes."
"Um, Soeur Florence? The ceiling is raining, too. There's water everywhere."
"Shit! Don't move. I'm coming."

As I was recovering from my first-ever experience with hearing a nun cuss, Soeur Florence careened down the stairs and through the hall, screeching to a halt in front of my doorway to survey the damage. It took awhile for it to all sink in. Once she realized the scope of the problem, she said, "Oh God. Oh Jesus, shit. Oh Goddamn it. Monique! MONIQUE! Come quick!"

Soeur Monique took her time coming. That wasn't really her fault. She wasn't in any fit state to run, after all. She leisurely walked up to my door, looked at my room, and said, "Yes, Florence?"

"I see."
"What are we going to do?!"
"Well, Florence, start by getting a broom."

So Soeur Florence went and got a broom, and we slowly cleared the mess away. As it turns out, the girl in the room above me had forgotten to turn off her shower, and it had overflowed. Luckily enough, I was leaving the next day to go to Normandie on vacation, so when I came back a week later, my ceiling was newly repaired and the wood floor was freshly polished.

That story makes me laugh to this day.

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