I like milk—chilled on my breakfast cereal in the summer or served hot with freshly cooked oatmeal in the winter. When our friend Larry makes chocolate chip cookies there’s nothing better than an afternoon snack of these delicious treats accompanied by a tall glass of cool milk. Can’t get to sleep in the evening? A mug of warm milk always does the trick for me. Bill, on the other hand, is not a fan. He can deal with cream, cheeses of all sorts, and even tolerates a daily serving of yogurt but he runs the other way if he sees me anywhere near the stove with a carton of milk. You could say that he is repulsed by the smell which is why I found it funny to see this Lait Répulsif on a pharmacy shelf.
My first instinct was to translate that as “repulsive milk” but the real purpose of the product lead to an alternative meaning of “repellent”. I’ve mistaken liquid soap for hand cream and charcoal lighter fluid for barbecue sauce so I wanted to be a little more careful this time. At least the bottle had a drawing of a mosquito and since we were looking for something to keep them at bay this seemed to be the right product. The bonus, according to the directions, was that your skin would be moisturized while repelling the bugs.
On another shelf my eyes were drawn to some small colorful bottles with what I found to be an unusual name: V. I. Poo. Really? In the newspaper I have seen the use of VIP, especially when referring to a British or American celebrity but adding the double o’s afterwards just didn’t seem French. A closer examination showed that the product promised to “imprison the odors” (now, that sounds more like the melodic language we’re learning) and the fragrance choices included lavender (well associated with Provence) so perhaps this really did belong on display in this pharmacie.
At the checkout counter there was a big display of many different books, all with inviting, colorful covers depicting children playing and prominently displaying the word vacances which is easy enough to translate into “vacation”. What fun these would be for any youngster on some kind of break from school, right? Upon closer examination, said the spider to the fly, we saw that these were really study books for subjects including science, math, French, and English with guidance for parents on how to use them together with their children. Education is a priority here with parental involvement commonplace even, it seems, when school isn’t officially in session.
Now if you will excuse me I’m going to treat myself like a true VIP with a glass of real milk, some of Larry’s cookies and a book that doesn’t have “vacation” in the title.