Having lived outside of the US for a long time now, I often forget very pointed, specific expressions or terms that would sometimes come in handy in conversations. The fact that I speak mostly French here every day means that when I do have the occasion to speak to a native English speaker I find myself explaining a situation using a long-winded description rather than the more appropriate and exact word or expression.
One example of this occurred a few months back when speaking to some visiting US Navy officials. I was explaining that "we non-African women living here often get pulled over by the police who are waiting for us on the side of the road and hold us there in our over-heated cars for as long as it takes in the sun at noon with our kids crying in the back seat until we pay them off and they let us go." One of the Americans looked at me with amazement in his eyes and said, "No Way!! They do shakedowns on the moms here in town?!" Until that moment I had really only related that specific term to episodes of the Sopranos and Al Pacino movies, but heck yes, we live in a town where soccer-mom shakedowns take place pretty regularly, and I kind of enjoy using the term whenever the subject comes up now!
So, in an effort to make full use this very pertinent English-language term, I'll post here two pictures I managed to take one day of my friend Pauline experiencing a real-life shakedown of her own with her two boys in the back seat.
If you look hard enough in the driver's side of the car, you can see here the stressed-out mom leaning over toward the open door trying to make sense of the oncoming shakedown.
And here's a close-up of the shakedown in progress. This was the best I could do, though, as the cop was not amused at my photo taking, which seems to be pretty standard practice during shakedowns.
Aaaahhhhhh....it feels good to put the English language to good use!