07 October 2010

Chez Vous?

Living in France for over a year means I've had to trade in my Get-Out-of-Dummy-Free card.

I had to go to la laboratoire nationale today to have a test done.  When the line-out-the-door finally advanced, the receptionist smiled politely.  Bonjour, madame, I said.  Bonjour, lak alkd lakjglkjslkd aslkdj?  She asked and held out her hand.  Pardonne??  I replied. Votre lakjglkjslkd aslkdj.  She repeated.  I stared blankly (my trademark look since I moved to France) . . . she spoke louder.  I swallowed my pride and said Je ne . . . parle pas . . . uh . . . bien . . .  BIEN . . . le francais. (I don't . . . speak . . . uh . . . well . . . WELL . . . the French).  She smiled and simply said Votre carte vitale?


I was lost.  But considering I was coming to have blood drawn and all the people in front of me handed her a green credit card, I assumed she was talking about the national health insurrance card.  I pulled my Aetna card out, handed it to her and said Je ne suis pas francaise (I'm not French) . . . to which, in her head, I'm sure she thought "What gave that away??"

She asked for my address.  That was easy.

Then, for the kiss of death . . . she wanted my telephone number!

Now, those of you who are regular attenders of these blogposts will know that, one, I cannot count in French, and, two, I'm even worse at math than I am at spelling!  (If only I could spread out some of my short-story-long-girl powers!)  Add that to the fact that I've only recently absorbed my cell number into my memory . . . and you get the following:
Zero-six . . . uh . . . zero-six  (06 . . . uh . . . 06).  As I tried to come up with the next set of digits, she politely reminded me that there were four more units I was missing (which didn't help my paranoia any)  I kept going. Vingt-trois (23) . . . no . . . oui . . . vingt-trois (23) . . . zero-cinq (05) . . . no . . . zero-huit (08) . . . oui, zero-huit (08) . . . soixante-onze (71) . . . NO! . . . uh . . . uh . . . cinquante-onze (50 11).  She interjected.    Pardonne madame, il n'existe pas, cinquante-onze (I'm sorry, ma'am, but there's no such thing as 50-11).  I started to laugh at my blunder.  Cinquante-et-un (51)!  The best part was, she started to laugh too (Check that one off the Bucket List: make a French stranger laugh!).  I think it was the laughter that broke my nerves . . . Quatre-vingt-un (81) I announced with a bit of a bugle-blowing-charge.  
Now that the taking of my info was done (oh, sorry world-wide-blogspot, you don't get the real number), she gave me instructions about picking up my results.  Les r├ęsultats seront finir alksjdlk lkajsd lkfj asjd lj as flkajsdlkfj alks jdflkja lkj dlk jiwjeoi voia voiwnov hitheaoi ve la poste aslkdjfl lakjs dlfkj laskjdf lkj.  All I got of that was "The results will be finished . . . the post . . . ."  Okay, I thought, they will mail the results.  But where??  To me?  Or here at the lab??  So I thought I'd ask: Les r├ęsultats vont venir chez moi?  Ou chez vous? (The results will come to my place or yours?)  She looked at me shocked and asked, Chez MOI?  I laughed again.  OH!  PARDONNE!  Pas chez VOUS, mais . . . ici!!  (Oh, sorry!  Not YOUR place . . . but here!)

Needless to say, the line was back out-the-door and no one else seemed s'amused with my studdered butchery of their beautiful langue maternelle.  

2 comments:

Beth said...

Oh me! Oh my! This one made me laugh out loud because I totally get it. I stink with numbers too!

Beth said...

Oh me! Oh my! This one made me laugh out loud because I totally get it. I stink with numbers too!