Thursday, February 25, 2010

vivi's first rude Frenchman

Yesterday I was dealing with a client at work, and when he gave me his name I didn't understand it at first, so I asked him to repeat it. When I finally understood it, he said, "Yes, well I speak French, we are, after all, in France, where we speak French. Although if I went to England I would have a rough time, har har!"

What I wanted to say:

"Yes, thank you, Mr. Le Pen*."

"Yes, that's why they hired me, because they couldn't find any French people that could speak to our international clients."

"Yay, I finally found my first actual rude Frenchman!"

What I actually said:

Just as I was biting through my tongue, my boss walked in and said, "Everything ok, Vivi?" I responded through clenched teeth, "Everything is REALLY REALLY GREAT."

I like to think that the jerk realized he'd gone to far because by the end of the transaction he wasn't nearly as smug, but I fumed about it all day. And I have to say the the vast majority of our clients are very sweet and patient and love that I'm one of them there ferners from across the ocean (they usually assume I am either English or Scandinavian - yes I am that pale).

For five years I've been saying that I have yet to meet the stereotypical rude Frenchman, but voila! - I've found him!

*Jean-Marie Le Pen is the founder of the ultra-right wing political group that believes that all immigrants should go away, among other lovely sentiments.


nina said...

In my moonlighting at the shop, I get him about once a month, except he's not French: the arrogant, impatient jerk. One from a January evening I will never forget. For days I replayed in my head what I should have said. It was clear as anything that he flicked me off as someone so terribly inferior to his excellence. It is our great fortune that the world is not populated for the most part with jerks. But what havoc can just one jerk do in the course of the day! My sympathies...

Vivi said...

nina, ugh it's so true! And 99.9 percent of our clients are so lovely and nice, but it's the one jerk that I remember. BOO!

A Seattleite in Paris said...

You're lucky it took this long :)

La Rêveuse said...

Oui, mais le français est plus facile à comprendre pour les autres qui veulent s'ameliorer si le parleur ne marmonne pas. :) *bats eyelashes and looks innocent*

PigletinFrance said...

You are lucky it took this long!

Excellent response La Reveuse! I will be practising that for my prochain put down!

Ozma said...

I just stumbled across your blog and began reading... How do you like France, compared to the US? What's better, what's worse, what's different? I've been to Paris several times but not long enough to really know if it's a place I want to live, you know? I'm coming back this summer though... :-)

Roaming Gnomette said...

I encountered my first rude French(wo)man while visiting Paris with my brother and a friend. I'd told them that the French are not at all as arrogant as Americans make them out to be. So much for that!

It's true; that one intolerably rude person can easily ruin your day.