Tête de linotte


1.       Etourdi, distrait.

2.       Personne sans mémoire.

Often derogatory, this expression is used for absentminded, dizzy or forgetful people. In English, a linotte is a linnet, which, according to Google, is a type of bird.

Guess who called me this?

On Thursday night I came clean to Bénédicte about my burnt bedding.

I quickly vacuumed the apartment before she got home, then tidied my room. I didn’t want her to catch me watching Friends in French before I confessed.

When she came in, she called out “bonsoir!” and I replied.

I waited for her to settle down a bit, staring at myself in the mirror, trying to busy myself with arranging papers and sorting my moisturisers, etc., into height order. I breathed deeply. My hands were shaking and my heart was beating heavily.

I didn’t think I could do it.

But I’d already said that I was going to in my comments! No turning back.

Bénédicte, je doit parler avec toi,” I said rather quickly.

Oui?” she stood in my doorway.

I took a deep breath, and continued, “I did something bad – something really stupid. Yesterday I forgot about the lights over my bed, and they’ve burnt the covers.”

Bénédicte gasped, then pursed her lips with a nod. “Okay. Show me.”

I nodded quickly and unfolded my bed from the wall, and showed her the blankets.

Oh la la!” she gasped (yes, some people actually do say this here, but it sounds more like “aww law law”).

“I’ll replace them, or give you the money, as you prefer,” I said as she inspected the damage.

“Do the lights still work?” she asked.

“Yes,” I demonstrated. What I hadn’t realised was that the lights had been burnt into the wooden frame of the bed, so now they can’t be replaced when needed.

Bénédicte noticed, and tested them. “I don’t know what to do about this,” she said after she tried unsuccessfully to take out the light bulbs, “elles sont completement crématisées!

She then looked at the blankets. “I don’t know where I got this,” she lifted the top one, “but I think it was quite cheap. This too,” she poked at the blackened doona cover. She then looked at the thick doona, with its deep, brown pits. “This was more expensive.”

“I’ll replace them,” I repeated.

She looked at me, “you need to pay attention – you are lucky that it wasn’t much worse.”

I nodded, “I know.”

“You’re very lucky.”

“I know.”

Bénédicte sighed and started to leave the room. At the doorway, she turned back with a hand on her hip. “Tu as une peu tête de linotte,” she said.

I know – I’m a bit of a featherbrain.

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