Of course you know about French farces: There is much running about, doors slamming, people just missing each other, mistaken identities. This afternoon at home in Daglan we had our own version, and here’s a recap.
My wife Jan and I had enjoyed a wonderful lunch (fresh fish from the weekly fish truck, perfectly breaded and fried) and were lazing about, reading our books. Suddenly, the action began.
The telephone upstairs rang. It was a man from Citroën, following up from a phone call that I had received yesterday. I had explained (yesterday) that the Citroën C1 was my wife’s car, and someone should phone back on Wednesday afternoon, when she would be home. Jan got on the phone, and tried to keep up with the rapid-fire French monologue dealing with a révision for her C1. It turns out that révision means tune-up, and Citroën was offering her a deal.
All of that was fine, until it turned out she needed various details about the car. Like the registration number, which involved running downstairs to find it in the car, and then running back upstairs to tell it to the man on the phone. Then he needed her cell phone number which, because it is brand new, she had forgotten; so this again involved running down the stairs to find it.
As she came running back through our living room, she told me that the man from Sogedo (the water company) had just arrived, to take our water meter reading. “No problem,” I said, “I’ll go out and deal with him.”
So I trotted down the stairs to street level and went out the door, to find a truck in front of the house. We exchanged “Bonjour” with each other and even shook hands, as one does in these parts, and I asked if he needed to get in the garage to take the meter reading. No, he replied — because he was actually selling clothes.
Yes, he explained, he travels around the countryside selling clothes. Would we be interested in buying a dress? Pants? Shirts? And so on. He opened up the rear of his van to display quite an array of clothing.
At this point, I wasn’t sure how Jan had confused a clothing salesman with a meter reader from Sogedo.
In any case, I explained that we had (almost literally) tons of clothes from Canada, not to mention what we had bought since moving to France, and certainly didn’t need any right now. No problem, he replied: he could come back next month, or indeed next year.
Just then another man appeared out of our garage, holding an electronic instrument of some sort. It turned out that he was the man from Sogedo, and had just taken our water meter reading.
I asked if everything was okay. “Pas de problem,” he said, and we both then said “Bonne journée!” as one does in these parts. As the Sogedo man returned to his truck, the clothing salesman and I gave cheery “Bonne journée!” wishes to each other, and that was that.
Now it’s just a matter of locating that promotion we received in the mail from Citroën a while ago. It seems that if Jan gets the révision done for her car, and has the papers duly processed, she will get a free tank of gasoline (petrol).