Do you speak Frenglish?

My Russian parents and I entered the Louvre Museum in Paris and came up to the ticket box. My father, eager to show my mother his English “knowledge”, began to explain his needs to the ticket boy with exaggerated circular movement with his hands.

“Everysing picture looking, please. Two.”

The poor ticket boy, dimly understanding what they needed, began explaining at great length, gesturing at a board of options. We don’t speak French and had no idea what he was saying. My parents nodded, pretending to understand, yet still repeating their very Russian sounding: “Everysing please, OK?” This discussion continued at cross-purposes, while a long line began to form behind us.

As the boy finished in his attempts to explain the different opportunities at the museum, he looked up at my parents hopefully, waiting for their decision. My shy mother realizing that the dispute between the two males was not leading anywhere, leaned over the counter and asked the boy in a quiet voice:

“Excuse me,” she confided. “Can you say this again in English?” The boy’s jaw dropped.

“Zhat VAZ Eengleesh!” he barked back at them in a high-pitched voice, his eyes wide. Deeply offended, he printed two tickets out and slammed them onto the table.

“Au revoir!”

Turning away, our tickets in hand, my mother leaned over to my father.

“I thought he was speaking French to us…” she whispered in Russian, still puzzled. Shrugging it off, they both trotted away and disappeared into the crowded museum. I would be safer on my own.

– Ksenia Kouvaeva

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