One morning, a couple of Saturdays ago, the missus and I were lounging around reading the news when the doorbell rang. (Note: our ‘chime’ is the opening notes to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.) I go downstairs, open the door, and a young lady with a dog says, “Je suis désolé de vous déranger” – “I’m sorry to bother you.”
I reply: “De rien” – “It’s nothing”
To which she replies, “Oh, I’m so sorry to bother you.” In English. I had said two words. Three syllables: de ree-en.
So I continue speaking to her in English. She came to the door because a she saw a cat that had been hurt and was lying on the side of the road. She had already been to a neighbor of ours who told her that one of our cats looked like the one she described. Both of our cats were inside, but I got dressed and went to join her down on the road. Turns out she’s German and was there with her husband and their little girl. I brought one of our cat carriers, she put the cat in and then left to go to a vet. She brought the carrier back but didn’t ring the bell so I don’t know the cat’s prognosis.
Springtime arrived. Finally. To celebrate, I took a drive to the duty-free shopping mall/country of Andorra.
The Pyrenees still had snow on them at the upper elevations – anything above 2000m/6560ft. I was looking for some regional edition/limited edition cigars and Andorra has multiple cigar shops. At about the fourth shop that I went into – one I’d been to before and had good luck with – the lady behind the counter is with another customer. Being a good French resident I say “Bonjour” when I enter.
I go inside the walk-in humidor and look around. A few moments later, the lady comes in and says, “Good afternoon. How are you? Anything I can help you with?”
All in English
Now, I know that I’m not the best French-as-a-second-language speaker in the world, but c’mon! Two syllables! Bo-zhur.
It’s not like I said ‘Bahn-jewer’ or ‘Bo-joor.’
Regardless, I kept speaking in French and she kept speaking in English. If she didn’t have two cigars that I really wanted and at a good price, I would’ve left.