Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ring My Bell


Today's episode in nincompoopery unfolds with our heroine pedalling happily to work along the Canal St. Martin. The sun is shining, but not hot enough to warm the unwelcome smells of the sidewalk. Everything seems to be perfect...

When all of the sudden, Old Man appears in the bike lane. "Pardon!" I chirp, but the white hair doesn't see me. "Excusez-moi!!" I yell with more force as the distance narrows between us. It is only when I begin to squawk "Ding-DING! ding-ding-ding!!!" that Monsieur raises his head and takes the necessary steps to avoid being flattened by my machine of terror.

Moments later, it occurs to me: "I could buy a bell." Epiphany strikes just as I am crossing the doorstep of Atelier Go Sport, a bike repair shop along avenue Richard-Lenoir.

I wheel my bike in and say bonjour to the repairman who is airing some tires. I select my bell for 2.90 and join the line of women at the register. It's slow-going, as each customers' purchases are taken out of the package and attached somewhere on their bike. After 20 minutes, I'm up:

"Hi," I say in french. "Would it be possible for you to mount me?"

Eyes widen. I repeat, "C'est possible de me monter?"

"You're not shy," he tells me.

Shall we review a little french?

Vocabulary: monter - to assemble... to organize, set up (hey, that's right!)... to climb; to ride (oh, Christ.) as in a horse; to go upstairs.

Grammar: direct object pronouns - the bell receives the action. Not le Meg.

What I should have said was "C'est possible de la monter pour moi?"

What I did say inaugerates a new Blagueur series, the Weekly Gaffe. Tune in next week as I continue my reign of error among the people of Paris. Ring-a-ding-ding!

14 comments:

maitresse said...

Long live the fine art of the language gaffe. You are not alone!

by the wya, what kinda pooch you got? me, I haev a maltese. but he's summering on long island. I miss my doggie but his grandparents wanted him for a little while... I think it has something to do with wanting grandchildren but I'm not sure what.

maitresse said...

good lord. sorry about the typos. talk about gaffes!

le Meg said...

Salut Maitresse,

You yourself are not alone in wanting more info about Mirth. Doggy porn, I think, will have to become a regular feature if I'm to keep up my readership of twelve.

To begin, Mirth is a mutt: the sweethearted spawn of some hound(coon? fox?) and some terrier.

She was born "Rubba-dubba-doo," but we changed that upon adoption eight years ago as part of our secret plan to frustrate the french with the most unpronouncable name possible: "Meerzh"

More to come...

e! said...

Surely you have more than 12 readers on your blog! I've only recently started reading The Paris Blog, and it's been my best form of Paris research thus far. Thanks and keep up the great work!

P.S. And oh, how I feel your pain on the language gaffes. I have at least one of those at every French class I attend.

buzzgirl said...

That was hilarious! At least now I know what to say "by mistake" next time I meet a cute Frenchie...

LA Frog said...

Great post! You certainly didn't come across as "coincée" [uptight], you daring girl. You basically asked him to bonk you! I bet it threw him off balance, if only for a sec. Fun story.

fahren said...

funnier than the time i 'introduced' a friend

JennC said...

wonderful post.

Sam said...

You're definitely not alone on this one. I was getting a car service to the airport and I told the drive as we drove under the tunnel, "Je t'aime le rive gauche"...Basically, I love you on the left bank. He looked at me strangely and told me that his English was not that good...neither was my French.

Sedulia said...

Well, I must admit I laughed out loud when I read that!

Reminds me of an American friend, recently arrived in France, who was angry at the disorderly jostling at the farmer's market. When she got to the front of the line, she demanded: "Monsieur, où est votre queue?"

With perfect sang-froid he replied, "Madame, voulez-vous que je vous la montre?"

Samantha said...

haha, thanks for sharing, got a good laugh out of that one....it's like the time i told an 80yr old french woman that american food was filled with préservatifs!

le Meg said...

Wow, these are great stories. Any others?

I'm glad we're all doing our part, intentionally or not, to correct the reputation of repressed American sexuality!

Anonymous said...

I don't even particularly like to swear in English -- I had trouble at my dive club, where the two methods of descent are le canard (like a duck, head first) and la phoque (like a seal, feet first). Alors, on va faire la phoque! is too close to another f-related word in English for me to declare in polite company.

That's not particularly an error, though. I have, however, mixed up nickel! (sweet! cool!) and niqué (fu... err... "screwed" up).

The Bold Soul said...

Sounds precisely like what my French teacher has been warning me about. I'm afraid of using baiser in the wrong context for this very reason.

Just discovered your blog and love your writing style. Consider yourself added to my blogroll and maybe when I move to Paris some day soon we'll meet up in person. In the meantime I'll continue to enjoy your work! A bientôt!