The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Aug 27, 2016


The other day I was in Brussels to see high school friends with whom I'd been in touch phonewise and WhatsAppily but not actually set eyes on for decades and I thought I should try a bit of French with the locals. Arriving, per directions, at a crossroads not entirely sure which of the streets led to Neelu's house (streets being unmarked and I not trusting Google Maps since it led a rail replacement bus badly astray not two months ago after I attended a wedding at Newmarket and strove to get to Cambridge), I decided to stop an elderly pedestrian and interrogate him.

'Ahem', said I, 'Excusez-moi, monsieur. La rue Coubertin est où?'

He stopped and looked around and a pensive mien descended upon his face.

'Attendez', he said, 'attendez.'

I attended.

'Un moment,' he continued.

I gave him a moment.

The pensive mien ascended and he brightened. 

'Là bas', he said.

He did not point. I bethought myself of his panache as he made a fish of his hand and whipped it around the periphery of the crossroads, wriggling his fingers in unison and making the following noises.

'Zut', and 'phwzzz' and 'bopp'.

The last sound signified a street diametrically across from where we stood.

He smiled.

'Merci', I said.

We parted.


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