Je connais la ville comme ma poche.
zhuh kuh-nay lah veel kum mah PUHSH. Click below to hear this.*
I know the city like the back of my hand.
The back of my hand is not a very interesting place. Sure, it has a few freckles, and some wrinkles at the wrist, but it’s nowhere near as interesting as the inside of my pocket. And the French phrase is all about pockets.
Like the city, my pocket has unexpected corners and surprising nooks and crannies. There’s the thread that I keep tugging at, the sideways tear that I always catch my little finger in, the imperfection in the fabric that makes a little bump. There’s the slit my nickels and dimes slide through, so they land on the sidewalk or inside the lining of my coat.
If you have pockets (and I’ll bet you do), you probably spend a lot of time with your hands in them (I’ll bet you do that, too). With your hands in your pockets, you feel comfortable and at home. No one can see how nervous, angry, afraid, or overwhelmingly happy, you are.
So I like this French phrase. If I know something intimately–a city, a book, a museum, even the grocery store–I love knowing it like my pocket. Is there a place you know comme votre poche?
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: