I’ve been to french France many times over the years and whenever I go, I’ll always have a go at speaking the language, because I’m told that they always appreciate that.
I’ve often joked that I speak just enough French to get my face slapped, but in truth, I could probably muster enough for a kick in the balls too.
Now, I’ve spent many, many hours in the car, listening to Teach Yourself French tapes and have learnt many phrases and words.
Stringing them into a coherent sentence though, that’s a different matter.
This was very evident one night when we went out to the Luna Park and I tried to get some drinks from a stall. As I queued, I practiced what I wanted to say, in my head, and when I reached the counter I confidently spoke the words… with a slight French accent, for good measure.
“Je voudrais une bouteille d’eau, s’il vous plait”
The girl serving behind the counter looked at me, uncomprehendingly, so I repeated myself.
She shook her head, looking confused.
I pointed at a bottle of water in the glass-doored fridge behind her. “Eau! Eau!”
She looked at me and then she looked at the queue growing behind me, and with some very obvious impatience and a condescending look, she said “Please say it in English”.
I fucking hate the French sometimes.