Applause and Ridicule in One Crazy Head

When I first started shopping at Ed (It’s a grocery store, not a person), I was a panicked mess. You have to bring your own bags–something I didn’t know at the time–and, of course, like any other French grocery store, you had to bag your own groceries. This is fine if you have a helper. I usually bring Sophie along because she’s such a great help.

But this time I flew solo.

That meant that my overstuffed cart had to be unloaded first. The problem was, I couldn’t fit it all on the short conveyer belt. So, the checkout lady was pulling my items across the beeper thingie while I was dashing hither and yon between unloading my groceries and trying to bag the ones mounting up on the other side with bags I had to purchase. STRESS!

But, I’ve improved. Thankfully. Now, I stack everything in order of how I’d like to have it bagged. I group all similar foods together so that when I get home, it’s easier to put them away. And I take a big, deep breath before I start the grocery dance.

So yesterday, I flew hither and yon like a professional French shopper, like I’d been designed to shop at Ed my entire life. When the cashier gave me the bill, I expected everyone to stop, a hush filling the air. I hoped there would be reverent applause. There wasn’t.

On the way out to the car, I threw a little applause party in my head.

I am making headway in this country. I am fitting in! I can do this!!!

Of course all that came crashing down merely an hour later when I had to spend a half hour speaking in French about a billing and services matter. I felt like an idiot, not understanding much and saying “D’Accord,” the French equivalent of “okay” even though I had no idea what I was saying okay too. The conversation could have been something like this:

Nice French Lady (NFL): “I would like to know if you could sell me one of your children for, say, 18 Euros.”

Me: “D’Accord.”

NFL: “Oh, and do you mind if I take all your possessions and burn them?”

Me: “D’Accord.”

NFL: “I am here to inform you that your husband is an alien.”

Me: “D’Accord.”

NFL: “Would you like to jump out of a hot air balloon without a parachute?”

Me: “D’accord.”

So, after such a lovely applause party in my head, I now threw a ridicule party.

What were you thinking? You’ll never be French, never will understand, never will be able to say more than it’s a lovely day and my name is Mary. What in the world were you thinking?

There you have it. A small picture of what it’s like to live inside my wee brain. If you are an American reading this post, I want you to do two things:

  1. If you happen to go to a grocery store that bags your groceries, jump over the counter and hug, hug, hug that wonderful person. Kiss ’em too. Do a happy dance. And if they say, “May I help you out with that?” start crying tears of utter gratitude right there.
  2. Next time you have a conversation with anyone who actually speaks ENGLISH, hug and kiss them too. It’s such a blessing to be able to be understood!!!!!!

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