Un Plaisir Minuscule

This is a little article I wrote for an assignment during my ‘year-abroad’ programme studying French (as part of my course requirements for my First Degree).  ‘Le Professeur’ asked us to write an article, using the style of Philippe Delerm, author of La premiere gorgee de biere et autres plaisirs minuscules. (translation , The First Sip of Beer and other Little Pleasures). We were supposed to detail a mundane act in a way that made it seem out of the ordinary (at least that’s the way I understood the assignment).
After sitting around for a while carrying a heavy Writer’s Block, I finally managed to fling it aside and set about to write my article on something I’m very familiar with:  Cleaning of the Ears. I’ll try to translate as best I can what i wrote. Here’s the French version:
Le Nettoyage des Oreilles
Les yeux fermés, les lèvres séparés, vous êtes oublieux de tout ce qui se passe autour de vous. Vous n’entendez rien,sauf une seule bruit. Celui qui est fait par le geste de pousser brusquement dans vos oreilles l’oreillette.
 
Avoir l’intention de nettoyer seulement l’oreille externe, le plaisir croissant vous faites pousser l’oreillette le plus en plus profondément vers le tympan. Vous serrez les dents alors que le geste intérieur commence a fait un peu mal.Ne faisant pas attention à la douleur,vous continuez avec vos gestes intérieures et extérieurs, vers le haut et vers le bas. Un peu de secondes plus tard, vous haletez de plaisir,oubliant complètement le douleur,et vous vous permettez d’apprécier ce plaisir simple de la vie.Vous ne voulez pas que ça soit fini,même quand la tache est terminée.Est-il possible d’avoir assez de cette plaisir? Dès le premier mouvement intérieur jusqu’à la dernière traction, le nettoyage des oreilles est l’expérience le plus agréable dans le monde.
And the English version
Eyes closed, lips separated, you are oblivious to all taking place around you. You hear nothing, except one lone sound: that which is made by the gesture of briskly pushing cotton swabs in your ears.
Initially intending to clean only the outer ear, the mounting pleasure makes you push the swab deeper and deeper towards the ear drum. You clench your teeth as the internal gestures begin to hurt just a little. Disregarding the pain, you continue with your internal and external gestures, up and down, up and down.  A few seconds later, you sigh with pleasure, having completely forgotten the pain, and allow yourself to appreciate this simple pleasure of life.
You do not wish for it to end, even when the task is finished. Is it possible to ever get enough of this pleasure? From the first internal movement to the last pull, cleaning one’s ears is the  most pleasurable experience in the world.
Ermm… and after having grandly shown off my intelligence (I hope) and my assignment (which i think really impressed my ‘Professeur’, by the way, judging from the way she smiled), I  find myself at a loss as to how to end this blog. So I’m just gna walk out the door, as you read this. I hope the smile on your face will be as wide as that which was on the face of my lecturer (mind you, an absence of a smile would mean you have not even a pint of  appreciation for all things literary. )
Anyway, all I’m trying to say is I expect you to enjoy this blog as much as i did writing it, even if it doesn’t inspire you in the least bit.
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8 thoughts on “Un Plaisir Minuscule

  1. Reminds me of these filmmakers whose stories often comprises of normal, average people.what these filmmakers do is show them being “normal”, engaging in regular human activities and yet, the way these mundane activities are portrayed may seem boring in reality but holds ur interest on screen.
    If I were your professor I’d smile too, not just because your article was good but how sexual it came out as. I love double entendres. 🙂

    • Eames, I think that’s one of the unique things about art.Consider the Mona Lisa, for example.A ‘normal’ lady of her day.For the life of me, I cannot even tell if she smiles or not.And yet the painting’s turned ‘extraordinary’ because of the way in which it was captured.
      And I’m not surprised you recognized the sexual nuances.That was exactly what I wanted to achieve when I first wrote it.I wanted the lecturer’s mouth to hang open till the end.Thanks for reminding me of that.(A friend of mine once told me if you enjoy cleaning your ears, you most certainly will enjoy sex, because the experiences are similar)
      You know, I’d almost forgotten how good it feels to have these literary conversations with you.Thanks for the support, and thanks for reading.

    • Really?? A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!!
      #Busily scribbling that under my ever-growing list of reasons I want to live in China :)). If I lived in China, I’d visit a salon EVERYDAY for that.It’s my all-time favorite daily activity.Thanks for sharing.

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