Monday, 21 October 2019

Je ne comprends pas!

The other day I attended a business conference in another town. The meeting was open to people from various organisations from many different countries, so there were plenty of people I had never met before.

I was standing in this large area with my briefcase at my feet enjoying a cup of coffee when this very attractive brunette lady wearing a very low cut black décolleté dress a few sizes too short approached me and started talking in Greek.

I couldn't understand a word she said. It was all Greek to me, as they say. I knew she spoke in Greek because a distant aunt of mine (she lives 300 miles away) is Greek and I could make out the language even though I could not understand what this young lady was saying.

I regretted not having my dictionary with me at the time. Not that it would have helped. It's an Italian dictionary. I like to carry it with me to impress the waiters in restaurants when I order a meal. I once ordered a whole meal in Italian and the waiter did not understand a word. It was a Chinese restaurant. But I digress.

Anyway, this young lady was enthusiastic about something or other and she talked fast in her native Greek and smiled a lot.

My mind went back to the many times I visited my aunt and I tried to remember some of the Greek words I had heard in her household. Words like youvarlakia, avgolemono, dolmades and baklava.

But I could hardly spout them out incoherently just because they were in Greek. Besides, they mean meat balls, chicken and lemon soup, stuffed vine leaves and a pastry sweet with syrup. Can you imagine a woman speaking to me in Greek and I reply "meatballs!" She'd think I was insulting her and not believing a word she is saying.

Try as I might to look blankly at her and saying politely, "Yo no hablo español !!!" she still continued smiling and speaking in Greek without as much as taking a breath.

I then remembered the famous Voltaire quote and said, "I may not understand a word you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to confuse me!"

She stopped for a while, perhaps wondering why I replied in English, then continued speaking to me in Greek as if nothing had happened.

It was then I remembered another phrase which my dear aunt used to say, time and again, to her daughter. I repeated it silently in my head once or twice to get the intonation and the pronunciation right and then, taking a deep breath, I said, "I foústa sas eínai polý mikrí ..."

The woman stopped abruptly and then slapped me in the face. She then turned round and walked away and vanished in the crowd of people in the conference room.

I just about managed to hold on to my cup of coffee and save it from crashing to the floor. I tried to compose myself and look as if nothing had happened, hoping that no one noticed me.

It was then that a man approached me and asked me, "Why did you tell her 'Your skirt is too short?' "  

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20 comments:

  1. Answer, "Because it was!" At least some may have thought so.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Methinks the "lady" needs a saddle for her high horse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try saying that in Greek!

      Keep smiling, Mevely. God bless.

      Delete
  3. We ALL strive to be understood! Your "distant" Aunt--LOL!
    Blessings, Victor!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 300 miles is distant in the UK. That's because our cars are smaller.

      God bless you always, Lulu.

      Delete
  4. Invoking Voltaire was hysterical, Victor, as was this story! Hope the young lady got over your pointed comment. :)
    Blessings!

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    Replies
    1. I never saw her again. She just left in a huff, or was it in a minute and a huff?

      God bless always, Martha.

      Delete
  5. Sounds like a scene in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" Part 3:)

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    Replies
    1. Yes ... I never thought of that. Great comment.

      God bless you, Chris.

      Delete
  6. Good story Victor, and I did laugh at Chris's comment too.

    Have a good week.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad to see you here again, Jan; and that you enjoyed this story.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  7. It's not good when we are misunderstood and a slap in the face is so much worse. Did you turn your other cheek. :)

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    Replies
    1. No I didn't turn the other cheek because I did not know how to say cheek in Greek.

      God bless you, Bill. Keep smiling.

      Delete
  8. When I don't understand what a pretty brunette with a low cut dress is saying, I nod my head in agreement and smile.

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    Replies
    1. Good point, JoeH. The problem is I did not know where to look without getting slapped in the face. Oooops ... I did!

      God bless.

      Delete
  9. I think you should do what joeh does! Of course then we wouldn't have had any thing to laugh about!

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    Replies
    1. As long as my readers laugh, that's what makes me happy, Happyone. The sound of laughter.

      God bless you always.

      Delete
  10. Why didn't she see that you were oblivious?? Good experience, one that you can carry with you the rest of your life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oblivious? I don't think they have that word in Greek.

      God bless you, Susan.

      Delete

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