I Gave Up on Learning French and Now I Have to File a Harassment Order Against the Owl From Duolingo

I, a citizen suffering from quarantine fatigue, would like to apply for an order of harassment against Duo, the owl of Duolingo. During quarantine, many discovered newfound pleasure in baking their own bread and churning their own butter, like humble Amish girls. I decided that a way to pass the time, when I wasn’t learning a new trade that would only make me money if I stepped off the Mayflower, was to attempt to master a few phrases in a new language. I decided on French, because what would keep me busier than trying to spell a seven-letter word where only two of the letters have sound? Unbeknownst to me, I was about to enter into an abusive relationship. With Duo, not French. Though, I do feel personally attacked by illogical changes in tenses and gendered words. 

At first, Duo would compliment me on my progress and cheer me on emphatically. He would email me progress reports on how well I was doing. I was keeping up with the hard regimen of 10 minutes a day while pooping. He would alert me when it was time for my lesson and I, a grown-ass woman, would follow the orders of an animated bird. I felt euphoric with every ding of a correct answer, like that of a “feeling cute, might delete later” selfie. 

But then, things took a turn…Something else was pulling my attention: the sun. It got really nice out you guys, and after months of being cooped up inside, adults all over the country were entrusted to spend some time outdoors unsupervised. (Big mistake, but that’s for another article). There is only so many Paint by Number paintings you can put up on the walls of your microscopic apartment, and I started to abandon some of my projects. This included the most none sensical language on the planet. 

That’s when Duo started getting angry. The messages were only slightly pushy at first and then got more and more stalker-esq. 

“Hey, why don’t you practice some of your French?” 

“Hey, just 10 mins a day is easy. You said you could handle it.” 

“Where are you?”  

“Do you want to practice?” 

“You up?” 

“I know you’re not busy.” 

“So you’re just never going to finish what you started? Got it.” 

“Are you getting my emails?” 

“Back in lockdown, you know where to find me.” 

“Silent treatment? Wow, I see how it is.” 

“Je t’aurai ma jolie. Oh, wait you don’t know what that means because you’re a dumb bitch!”

I know where you live.”

So you see, I think it would be best if I be put into the witness protection program. (Not in France.)

Niki Hatzidis is an award nominated playwright and actor living in NYC, which means she tries too much, cries a lot and laughs through everything. Usually Coffee stained and running late because of the MTA.