mardi 7 octobre 2008

Dirty Goethe and the shirty flirter

I went to sign up for German class today. This is part of my bid to meet more people and get more parisian friends, as it looks like I'm here for a while. And let's face it, I can't meet everyone in bars.

I'd called up earlier in the day and enquired about classes and availability and levels and so on, only to be greeted by the rudest person imaginable on the telephone. "That was the rudest person imaginable" I said to Debbie, as I put the phone down.

Apparently, I needed to take a test and see how my level was before we could enter into any discussion of availability of places. So off I traipse to the school (the Goethe Institute, no less), in the 16th (embassy and trust fund land) to sit my test. It's a lovely part of town this, but suffers from the mess left behind by the local small, yappy-type dogs. The ones that wear Cartier collars, eat foie gras and drink Evian.

I avoid soiling my (new, lovely) shoes, find the school and head to the course administrator's office. "I'm here for a test"

"Answer these questions, come back" said the snappy woman behind the desk.

"Can I borrow a pen please?"

"You have come for a test and not brought a pen?" She semi-shouted. "What a curious creature you are. Borrow mine, but no nibbling".

I filled out what I could and took the test back to the office.

"You haven't finished" said the same stern lady behind the desk. It was now more than obvious that this was she of the phone call earlier.

"No, but I'd started to guess the answers and I didn't want good guesses to make it look like I'm better than I am".

"This is very bad for you". She said, tutting. "I see a class at very low level for you. Nothing very advanced".

"Perfect", said I. "Just what I am after".

"You have the choice of these classes" she said, waving a timetable at me.

As I perused the timetable (all four lines of it) she served three other people. One by one she was insulting and rude to them...almost.

The first girl had forgotten her piece of paper with the course and room number on it. "You I shall call Mademoiselle Forget Everything from now on. Room 3c. Next!".

The second person was a woman of advancing years who wanted to know if there was a lift. "If you are not fit enough for our building, you are not fit enough to go to Germany. Ve have many hills there you know". She said, sharply.

And finally came a handsome young man looking for a space on an advanced course. "I'd like to know if you have a space on an advanced course" he said.

"I most certainly do. For you anyway." She had suddenly turned all coquettish on him and was embarrassingly, obviously flirting with him. She sorted him out with a class and turned her attention back to me.

"For you, I see something different". She declared. She reached under her desk and pulled out, with a flourish, a piece of A4. "Ve have courses at the University. They are for a, well, younger clientele. You vill be happier there".

And so she sold me a course that was 30% cheaper than the ones at the school, with better hours for me and funkier classmates. And into the bargain, she had paid me the biggest compliment I've had since moving to France. I'm nearly 40, and under no illusions about looking my age.

"I don't do this for everyone" she said. "Please keep it to yourself". And, I kid ye not, she winked.

And so, feeling like a WWII collaborator I skulked out of the building, fearful that someone might accuse me of sleeping with the Hausfrau...

31 commentaires:

Lane a dit…

What an uberbitch! I empathise with Mademoiselle Forget Everything and sadly the woman who wanted a lift too.

Mind you, always nice to be taken for a youngster, even if she was barking up the wrong tree:-)

travelling, but not in love a dit…

She was such an uberbitch, Lane. but it was spectacular to watch.

I could happily pull me up a chair in that office and watch her insult people all day...! It was so unnaturally natural.

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) a dit…

Grumpy old haus vrau or Uber bitch she may have been, but seemingly she did manage to flatter you and provide a solution for your needs. Strangely not as unfriendly as she first seemed.

Perhaps she could attend customer service classes while you attend German classes?

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Rob, she managed to shock, stun and charm me all at the same time. I liked her style.

Daisy a dit…

She sounds incredible. I'm always surprised by French people's "directness" which I take for breathtaking rudeness and feel all English and slighted, even though they're really nice the next minute. I think I might have had some kind of accident if I had a German woman shouting at me!!

Angela a dit…

Haha, that was funny. Ich bin auch Deutsche und muss immer lachen, wenn wir unseren Vorurteilen gerecht werden! Well done, lady Überbitch!
Actually, we are only efficient and straightforward, you know (as she proved)and are always quite surprised when we are considered rude. But zen, zer is always some trooss in eni prejudice, nicht wahr? (giggle)

A Lewis a dit…

I like funky. And I like cheap.

Breezy a dit…

I await tales of your funky young adventures in German with bated breath. Actually I quite like the sound of the uberbitch nice can be so boring

conortje a dit…

You didn't happen to meet Michelle from ze resitance hiding behind a corner when you left did you?

Brett a dit…

Super

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Daisy...having 'an accident' wouldn't have helped matters. But it would have made me laugh...

Angela - there is a always a bit of truth lurking behind stereotypes...as an englishman in France, I had to learn this quickly....

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Lewis, I bet you really do like cheap! But let's not tell your hubby, eh?

Breezy - she was anything but boring...I'd listen to her insult people all day if I had the time...and if she let me!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Big C, I was expecting her to lean over the desk and say "listen very carefully, I shall say ziss only once..." at any moment.

I'm expecting many such moments in class. I'll try not to snigger.

Brett...it was. Really.

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

We had such a concierge at our secondary school. It was clear she only got the job because she needed to get off the job market and it was probably subsidized anyway. She was so incredibly mean and rude to every single student we started calling her überbitch. I can't even remember what her real name was.

But I can say from experience that the people in Germany, in general, are much friendlier than these überbitches. There's a reason the other Germans kicked them out. ;)

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Marjolein, I agree...my experience of Germans is generally pretty good - friendly folk and welcoming.

But this one - her rudeness was a whole other level of rudeness...almost classy!

CawfeeGuy a dit…

that's FABULOUS! she sounds like "Elke the She Wolf of the SS" meets the wizard of oz!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Cawfeeguy...hmm, yes. exactly what I was thinking. No, really, it was. Honestly....

tornwordo a dit…

I love her crack about not being fit enough to go to Germany. I would have been giggling helplessly.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Torny, she was just great value. Excellent. You could make a TV series just watching her.

Valleys Mam a dit…

LOL we have vays of making you spek deusch I think she fancied getting in your knickers lol.
Silly voman init

Valleys Mam a dit…

Why not learn Welsh - cariad bach

knifepainter a dit…

I think she secretly turned you on TBNiL.......all that master-race uber-discipline !!!!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

VM, I think she just thought I was a weak englishman. And I'm not sure how well welsh would serve me out here in euro-land. Shame though, it would be fun...

KP, I have to admit it, a bit of discipline would be just fine...from her brother!

Daryl a dit…

Just do not let them lure you into the shower ...

:-Daryl

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Daryl, outrageous!

Although, if there's the promise of a group shower at the university, I'm obviously going to be counting myself in...and be done with the consequences!

The Hangar Queen a dit…

I think Uberbitch was one of my classmates at dominatrix school.

Top of her class naturlich.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

HQ, there was something of the contract killer about her ;-)

Medbh a dit…

Travelling, that's one of the best post titles evah!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Medbh, I thought it was a work of genius myself! I clapped a lot when i worked that one out!!

Louise a dit…

So is the REAL reason for this so you can have MORE of a German accent?

Great story! The wink must have given you butterflies!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Louise, the wink scared me half to death! It was like Allo Allo, the tv series. very funny.