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!