Avez vous deux minutes?

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!

Take a photo of her, write 'Interdit' over the top in huge red letters and pin it on the door, lol. Or 'La vie n'est pas libre.'

Great idea, if only I knew what that was in French. She's off to her other house in the north. I was bristling for ages afterwards!!

Am I the only one who has this problem?!

That made me laugh - the cheek of that woman! Good grief you wouldn't want friends like her. She wants you to pay rent to her, do her alterations, what next? Where's she leaving to on Thursday? If it's for a week away she'll probably tell you (not ask) that her garden needs mowing and watering twice a week and you won't even get a postcard. Can you put a sign on the door saying 'No cadgers'?