L'oreille distraite est l'organe du malentendu.
The distracted ear is the organ of misunderstanding. --Albert Brie
Recently, the kids and I were invited to my husband's office for a "Welcome the New Employee" apéritif. The three of us Q-tipped our ears and shined our shoes in hopes of looking our best before heading over to Jean-Marc's new office to hear him speak.
After the apéro, a few of the employees, along with the director and company's founder, decided to dine at a nearby eatery. When we were invited to join them, I signaled sharply to the kids, reminding us all to keep our act together.
At the reception desk, we waited patiently for our table. To pass the time, the men smoked clopes, the children played a game of pool, and I maintained my new role of Delightful Wife.
Our act was running smoothly when one of us began rocking from foot to foot. No matter how hard I tried I could not hold it any longer and so tottered over to the reception desk to ask a pertinent question:
"Where is the 'vaysay' please?" I posed my question in French, trying hard to prounounce the unusual word for "restroom".
"Vaysay?" the receptionist questioned. Confused, she turned to her colleague, who tried to translate.
"I think she's asking for un whiskey."
Shocked as much by the misunderstanding, as by the indelicate manner in which the women spoke about me (as if I was invisible!), I shot a casual look over my shoulder, to assess any damage to our family's carefully put together first impression. What a relief to find the director and the boss carrying on as if they hadn't heard a thing.
"No! Vay-say. I would like....un toilet!" I whispered, hoping to shush them up, but it was too late.
"Madame wants a whiskey!" the receptionist shouted, this time to the maître d, who stood across he room at the bar.
It took a few flailing arms to get the point across, at which point the maître d personally escorted me to the restroom. So much for slipping out unnoticed. I hadn't meant to make a scene but isn't that what happens when you put on an act?
une clope = a cigarette
Walnut Wine and Truffle Groves is a culinary travel book that navigates the back roads—as well as the menus and markets—of the southwestern region of France with newfound excitement. Through interviews with local home cooks and chefs, visits to local farms, historic sites and wineries, market tours, and serendipitous detours, Lovato provides a glimpse into this unspoiled wonderland. The alluring recipes and stunning photographs let readers discover the true jewels in France’s culinary crown as well as discover the country’s most beautiful and less trod-upon provinces. Order here.
More Gift Ideas....
France Magazine subscription
Get French Word-A-Day delivered by email, here.
Joyeux Anniversaire!... to my dear dad, who encouraged me to follow my heart to France. And happy birthday to Marsha, left, his beautiful bride of 16 years.
A Message from Kristi: For twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.
Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety