Why is it that there are people who only remember you exist when they need a favour? People who have not bothered to get any friendlier than a ‘bonjour’ in 3 years!!
The phrase I have come to dread when I open the door is “Avez vous deux minutes?” What they are actually asking for is between 45 minutes and 3 hours claimable immediately.
I live in a small village – and I love the fact that we all help each other out. I am happy to! But when I am faced with one of this particular type on the doorstep I find myself grappling for a 'get out' phrase in french that is both polite, and definite.
Here is just one example (from the several this week!)
On Monday evening an acquaintance came knocking. Did I have two minutes? I stepped back and showed her the sewing machine, with dress half in half out, needle in the fabric, thinking she would pick up on the fact that I was right in the middle of something when she knocked. “This will only take two minutes”. She’d heard that I had just put my house on the market and wanted to show me her flat that was for rent. Muttering a thank you (and wondering why she thought I wanted to rent anything) I followed her into her flat. She gave me the extended narrated tour, leaving no feature uncommented. “And I noticed you have your sewing machine out, I need some trousers altering, I’ll put them on now so you can measure the length.” After having spent ages getting them pinned up to her satisfaction, I explained that I would not get a chance to sew them until next week. “No, I’m leaving on Thursday, they need to be done before then!” I explained that I was busy, and even though I was polite, the atmosphere changed, and I was effectively left to find my own way to the door!