Before going to a local jazz concert, we went out for a nice dinner together as a couple. We chose an italian restaurant that we'd seen a few times and came recommended. The restaurant was comfortable, and the waitress very nice. At our first sign of struggle in communicating she ran for a manager and told us she knew "zero" english, but we asked her to stay and bear with us as we tried to butcher her language. We ordered our food, jj lasagna, me a pizza. Then the fun began...
There's something the french do to their pizzas that I find a little weird. The love egg on pizza. Not like little bits of hardboiled egg, or egg baked into the crust, but like a runny fried egg just plopped down on top of the pizza. As I read the menu, knowing the word for egg, I searched and intentionally chose a pizza that did not list egg as one of the toppings. But when the pizza came out, it appeared that as a last thought before leaving the kitchen, the person bringing our food cracked an egg in the dead center of the pizza, let it ooze a bit, and then delivered to the table. I tried it, still not a fan.
I did however eat just over half of my pizza, but stopped with 3 pieces left (thought the rest could make a nice lunch). JJ finished her lasagna, and our waitress came, seeing that we were done. She looked to JJ, asked something with a smile, and JJ emphatically nodded "Oui! Oui!" as if to say "yes, the food was very good." She then looked at me and began to speak. "Would you like" was all I caught, and then as she continued talking she made a motion with her hands in a circle as if to pack something up. I had been thinking through a way to ask for a box to take my leftovers home, but came up with nothing. It seemed she was taking care of this for me! "Yes," I said, "please and thank you!"
When she left, we laughed for awhile imaging all the fun things that could have been said and what we would likely do as waiters if we knew our patrons didn't understand the language. Like walk up and ask with a smile "did your food taste like fried rotten foot?" Yes, of course, thank you! Or "was it so bad you want me to tell the chef to look into a career with waste management?" Oh yes! Or make a packing motion and ask the question "would you like me to take your pizza, roll it up, and flush it down the toilet?" Thank you so much! Oh the fun that could be had...
After dessert and paying our bill, my pizza had not made its way back to our table. We got up and began to put on our coats. Our waitress saw us and came to say goodbye. I put together the simplest question I could come up with, and simply asked "my pizza?" She suddenly had a look of utter confusion on her face and didn't really respond at all. So we said goodnight and left, laughing. What did she say to me when I thought she was offering to pack up my pizza?
You want I take your pizza, roll it into a ball, and throw it at your head as you leave? Bury it in dumpster out back? Plant it like a seed and see what grows?
New languages and cultures are so much fun.