Is “Connoisseur” French for Snob?

Fall in Colorado, picture courtesy of CDB

Fall in Colorado, picture courtesy of CDB



Is “Connoisseur” French for Snob?

I have a confession to make. It has been years in the making, and I do not make this confession lightly. The realization came to me suddenly, and I’ve made the difficult decision to share it with you.

I am a tree snob.

The realization of this sad fact was revealed last year, on a trip to Cripple Creek. The trip took us over highway 67, which often has some great views of fall color.

Well, in a week or two, maybe. It’s early yet.

As we drove, we saw a number of cars pulled over to the side, taking pictures of the changing leaves. Tourists. We asked them, from our still moving vehicle with the windows rolled up, “Why are you taking pictures of that?!  That is nothing. Wait until next week, when they’re actually turned!”

Clearly, we have become jaded in our appreciation of the beauty around us. We scoff at leaves just starting to change, a small patch twinkling in a sea of green. It takes much more than that to impress us. We pass another group taking photos, and though they can’t hear us we tell them, “Pffffft. You think that’s nice? You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

My sister (who was driving) did offer to stop if anyone wanted a look or photo op. This trip? We didn’t take a single picture, and never once felt compelled to pull over.

Coloradoans are fortunate, indeed, to live amongst such beauty that we take it for granted, and save our pixels for capturing only truly exceptional. We forget that for those that haven’t seen it before, it’s pretty remarkable already.

Part of me felt guilty at not appreciating the scenery. I should not take it for granted that I live in such a place as this, where there is something to admire almost everywhere you look.

The guilt lasted long enough for me to announce to the car: “we’re tree snobs.” They laughed, and heartily agreed.

From then, on, we rated every vista, and if we made any sort of complimentary comment on the scenery, we felt obligated to justify it to our fellow snobs, less we lose their respect for appreciating something substandard.

Perhaps we’re snobs so much as “connoisseurs,” which sounds better because it’s French for “snobs” and everything sounds better in French.   I think I’m realizing that “connoisseurs” is what snobs call each other because it adds levels of class, pretense and sophistication to the term.

On the way back, there was a nice panorama, which we did admire for its scope of color. Numerous shades of green, small shades of yellow, and a tiny hint of red. We agreed that if we could take a panorama shot of that, it would be pretty. But only because of the full 180 degree view.