Wednesday, September 27, 2006

You Americans -- You All Sound The Same!

Last night, armed with the latest edition of In Style magazine, I went to the little restaurant on the plaza for some spaghetti bolognese. I ran into two of my neighbors, Dominick and Yannick, who were sharing a bottle of wine on the patio. As good neighbors do, Dominick and Yannick invited me to join them while I ate dinner. As good neighbors do, I accepted.

As we were discussing the political elections in Brussels, what's new in the neighborhood, and Dominick's upcoming move to the apartment across the street from me, Dominick's phone rang. Although Dominick's conversation was in French, I could pick out a few words here and there, namely "Cindy."

I had no idea who he was talking to, but I assumed it was a fellow member of the Neighborhood Action Committee. When Dominick handed his phone to Yannick and asked him to interpret (Yannick speaks flawless English), I was beginning to think that perhaps my assumption was wrong. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only member of the NAC who does not speak French.

Yannick took the phone and asked Dominick who it was on the other line. Dominick responded in French, again using my name. Yannick started talking to the person on the line in French, but quickly switched to English. Just as Yannick asked, "Who is this?", the phone went dead. Dominick had run out of credits.

Dominick and Yannick then had a conversation, in French, during which I heard my name being bounced around a couple of more times. Although not normally this rude, curiosity got the better of me and I asked, "who was that?". Dominick responded, in English, "your husband." "My who?", I asked. "Dan, your husband, " Dominick replied.

Setting aside for a moment the fact that I am not married, I was having a few problems coming to terms with Dan calling Dominick. First, how did he get Dominick's cell number? I don't even know Dominick's last name, let alone any contact information. Second, why would Dan be calling Dominick, who doesn't speak any English? Third, why would Dan think I would be with Dominick and/or that Dominick would know where I was at? Fourth, why didn't Dominick hand me the phone instead of Yannick? And, the list goes on.

Thinking that I somehow misunderstood Dominick, I asked Yannick, "who was that?" Yannick's reply, "I don't know because the phone went dead before the guy could tell me his name, but Dominick says it was your husband, Dan." I guess my French is better than I thought, because this is exactly what I took away from my conversation with Dominick.

Yannick then used his cell phone to call the guy back, as his number had popped up on Dominick's caller ID. Yannick talked to the guy for a few seconds and then handed the phone to Dominick. Dominick struggled through some English phrases and then hung up. The whole time Dominick was talking on the phone, Yannick was laughing. Hard.

Thoroughly confused, I asked Yannick what was going on. Apparently, Dominick answered the phone and was telling the guy on the other end, who spoke some French, that he was having dinner with his (meaning the guy on the phone's) wife. The guy on the phone kept asking Dominick who he was referring to and Dominick kept responding, "your wife, Cindy."

Since the guy on the phone was not getting it, Dominick wanted Yannick to translate it into English for him. The only problem was, the guy on the phone was not Dan! It was a wrong number, but, since the guy sounded American, and Dominick only knows two Americans (me and Dan), Dominick just assumed that it was Dan on the phone.

Copyright 2006 by Cindy Lane. All rights reserved.


Blogger Michelle said...

Hilarious! I can totally see this happening. I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to tell you you had me in tears on some of your posts! My mom is Belgian and I have been there many times, it's interesting to see your point of view!

8:27 PM  

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