Do you remember the French movie Diva that made a bit of a cult splash in the early '80s? It was an atmospheric thriller that featured a French kid motoring around on his scooter chasing after an older-woman crush and there are thugs and a magical man in a white suit and a singer who does this operatic solo at the end of the film that blows everyone away.
Anyway, one of the thugs is a short bald guy in sunglasses. He doesn't say much but when he does it's usually a one-liner that goes: "Je n'aim pas [quelque chose]. In other words, "I don't like [something]."
He said it in a nasal monotone. Some activity would be going around and when he was on the screen there was a bit of tension because he was up to no good and there would be a space of silence in the movie and then the bald thug would say: "Je n'aime pas _______."
And for some reason all these years later I still think about this guy. I think about him when I am hit with a sudden wave of not liking something or someone or a situation and I have a sudden urge to declare: "Je n'aime pas l'ascenseur."
"L'ascenseur" is french for elevator. This particular line comes from a scene when thug and partner were going up in an industrial elevator and it's silent until the nay-sayer delares "Je n'aime pas l'ascenseur." Just deadpan like that and at this point the viewer comes to expect it. It's the tiniest bit of comic relief (French style).
I don't know why this is the one line I remember of all his "Je n'aime pas's" because I have one hell of a time pronouncing "l'ascenseur." And lately I've really been wanting to say it.
For example the other day I was somewhere with a friend and something happened that was distasteful to me and I wanted to turn to my friend and say "Je n'aime pas l'ascenseur." And you know, this friend may even have gotten it too. I don't know -- am I too in my own world to think someone would have picked up on my reference? Would you have?
So what's the point exactly?
I sorta like this line as a trope or a language play or metaphor thingy -- a stand-in for saying "I don't like him/her/that/me/the weather/this particular moment." It makes the downerism funny and it lets me have my "no" moment with a good laugh and move on.
And if someone else would get it, wouldn't it be great?
Could you imagine being somewhere, a meeting or a party and just not digging something and declaring: "Je n'aime pas l'ascenseur" -- and having ONE person who got it?
If someone reading this would like to be part of the "l'ascenseur" club please let me know. I may just start practicing my pronounciation and start throwing it out there and see who gets it.
Yes! I mean, what's the worst that can happen? Someone will think I'm strange? Oh, like that's never happened.
"Je n'aime pas l'ascenseur!"