My dad branded him “apeupriste” a made up word derived from “A peut pret”(2), which epitomises the traits of the regular Algerian, no effort, no enthusiasm, no desire to excel, just get by, as long as he’s standing in the field or wearing a tracksuit, then he is playing sport, a similar approach to work and to life in general is noticed with many subjects observed in my many years of being Algerian.
Needless to say my brother grew up to be chubby.
My dad like other Algerians is judgmental, critical and calls everybody an a-peut-priste, Algerians are all lazy, they don’t want to work, he says, they prefer to gossip, hold walls, smoke, eat their mothers food and criticise their girlfriends and wives for not coming remotely close, wake up at 40 to find themselves still living in their mothers skirts and asking their sisters for pocket money, driving their sisters cars and be completely dependent on them (sisters), whilst at the same time maintaining complete control over the sisters independence. Can I borrow your car and 1000 dinars, oh and do stay at home.
No pleases, as you know we don’t have the word please in Algerian, they say the “please” is implied in the tone of the voice or they’ll finish the sentence with a prayer in the likes of “yerham babak” or “t3ich”. Even our language is incomplete.
Throughout school, and growing up in Algeria, you learn to be happy with mediocrity and celebrate a Baccalaureate with “mention passable” (3) and say Hamdoulah(4), when things go wrong after a whole ten minutes of trying to solve an issue, giving up is acceptable, just say maaliche (5) it’s fine like that, just leave it and hope it won’t get noticed or that someone else picks up the work.
It is something that stays with you and which will emerge in everything you endeavour later on in life, I don’t want to be an apeutpriste but along with being hot blooded, having dark hair, knowing everything, owning a pair of ray bans and a Levis 501, never bothering to read instruction manuals or user guides and living with the mantra of “there is always tomorrow” and Allah Ghaleb; I cannot help it. I am Algerian.
(1) God’s will or something
(2) close enough or approximately
(3) C mark or pass mark
(4) Thaks god
(5) It’s ok