Tuesday, 27 June 2017

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?' "  



  1. :D Thanks. It's 'thunderstorm weather' here, I explored the vast frontiers of insomnia last night, and a laugh was a nice change of pace.

    This reminded me of the Monty Python Hungarian Phrasebook sketch: which featured a chap accused of publishing a foreign phrasebook with intent to cause riot.

    1. Oh the memories ... I've just visited You Tube to see the sketch once more. As a youth at the time, some friends and I, (mainly I), used to write similar style sketches to Monty Python and we used to put on shows to raise money for charity. My friend used to particularly like the Dead Parrot sketch and had learnt it by heart. Thank you so much for taking me back to memory lane.

      I suppose it was at that time that I developed a sense of humour which, I hope, has stood me well in difficult times in life.

      As you know, Brian, I write several humourous posts, some available FREE from www.holyvisions.co.uk I find these posts attract new readers who, hopefully, get to read my more serious Christian writings.

      I hope and pray that the thunderstorms did not cause much damage and you are all well.

      God bless you and yours.

    2. The thunderstorms were unexceptional - - - and thanks for the Visions reminder. I've added that to my blogroll.

      Serious is good. So, I think, is humor. And I think there are times when humor is more important than 'serious:' certainly more helpful, in my experience.

      The trick, for me, is to stop laughing before I attract too big a crowd. ;)

    3. That's right, Brian. It happens to me too. I think of something and I am laughing or smiling to myself in public.

      God bless you my friend. So pleased you had no storm damage.

  2. You should write for a sitcom, Victor!! Thanks for the giggles!


    1. Hi Lulu,

      In my youth, I did write and put on several shows for charities. Somehow, I never bothered to send scripts to TV/radio. Now, my writings are published in books for posteriority. Because people need posteriority to sit down upon and read. It is difficult to read standing up. Unless one is in the shower and then the book would get wet.

      Glad you're smiling.

      God bless.



God bless you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...