I've been thinking all Frenchish lately. Besides remembering the modified "C'est la vie" of my old French teacher, I was last night trying to tell someone that my favorite vegetable was haricots verts (sp?) because they are so darn skinny and crunchy. (His favorite was broccoli.) My third French link in as many days was remembering something that happened to Alan and I in August. We were trying to get Coke out of a machine and wouldn't you know it, we fumble a coin and it rolls under the machine.
Now, in the U.S. when you drop a coin it's at most a quarter and oh well. In France, it was a 2-Euro coin, basically $2.50, so we were on our hands and knees trying to fetch it. It was too far back to reach, so we stood back up and Alan started trying to move the Coke machine. I wasn't aware that we were causing any kind of commotion (we were alone in a hallway of a shallow mall outside the train station at Versailles), but all of a sudden this guy comes out into the hallway from one of the shops and demands to know what we are doing.
"We dropped money," is what I tried to say, but I didn't remember the verb for "dropping" and instead used the verb for "falling." (In retrospect--this very minute, in fact -- I'm thinking that the verb is laisser tomber, to let fall. So I maybe wasn't that far off. Oui?)
So, the employee's eyes widen and he is asking me, "You fell?" He is worried about Le Litigation. "No, no," I say. "The money." It takes a while to sort out, but finally he understands.
He looks at us both and says in English, "And this gives you the right to be so loudy?"
It's clear we are being scolded, but it's pretty hard not to laugh. I hastily apologize (always scared of being the Ugly American) and he helps move the machine. We get our 2-Euro back and there's another one under there as well, so he is rewarded for his trouble.
Alan and I have both tried to assign the nickname Loudy to each other, but it just isn't sticking. Maybe because although we are Americans with all the boisterous crudeness the world expects of us, deep at heart we are really actually quiety.