Thursday, 16 September 2010

..EH???

I'm going to blame my increasing deafness on waxy build-up (sorry, if you're eating) and the poor acoustic quality of the average restaurant/pub. I never seem to have problems at home or, mostly, at work. But I have been suffering from what I can only call "Freudian deafness" for years - in my previous career in Frenchish Airways I spent a lot of time on the phone and had to double-check the obvious mispronunciations : "Caen" instead of "Cannes", "Dakar" for "Dhaka", and on one memorable occasion something that could have been Biarritz, Bayreuth or Beirut. The travel agent wasn't sure which one the customer wanted (my tip? Don't book with them EVER), so I ended up saying "Do they want surfing, opera or bomb-craters?". She didn't know that either. It was a 66% chance the customer ended up in the wrong place.
I also frequently mis-heard the word "y-fronts" for the far more commonly used "reference" ("If I could just take down your y-fronts for this booking?"). Oh, the hilarity.
The end result of constantly saying "Sorry, could you repeat that?" is, inevitably, that your ears get lazy and you say it to everything. But it helps if at least the context is an indication of where the conversation should have been going - after all, y-fronts rarely get mentioned in the context of booking an airline ticket. Mr F and I went out for dinner on Saturday, to a fantastically nice (if slightly pricey) old-school proper Italian restaurant (osso bucco, Chianti, rabbit ragu, that kind of shenanigans) and while it was lovely, the acoustics were slightly trying. And at one point, while he was attempting to discuss burning news issues of the day (Koran-burning, in fact), I said "Sorry?" once too often. "THE PASTOR, THE PASTOR!!!" he yelled. Three waiters looked up in panic. Try saying it aloud. It wasn't just me.

9 comments:

Fran said...

I have to have my ears 'done' pretty frequently, and it's only when I keep having to look at people's lips that I realise it needs doing again. It must be very disconcerting for folks, having me stare at their mouths in that way.

Steve said...

Thank God you didn't order the focaccia...

Lucy Fishwife said...

Fran - When I was a teenager that used to be how you "could TELL that A BOY fancied you" (up there with "sugar free mints get you pregnant" - don't ask). Be careful who you do it to, although if they're staring at your chest I wouldn't worry.

Steve - "Do you want to go home for a coffee?" "WHAT?" "FOR COFFEE! FOR COFFEE!" - same thing really.

Blighty said...

Brilliant! love the Y fronts joke! will be recycling that one! off the point, but my mother once asked me in a very loud voice by a hotel pool what "fellatio" was (she was reading some novel no doubt recommended by the Telegraph); I was so shocked, I told her it was a kind of pasta; god help us if she ever goes to an Italina restaurant..

Nene said...

He he, lovely post, which I actually read while having my lunch. Only choked a little bit...

Lucy Fishwife said...

Blighty - I always thought Fellatio was one of Romeo's henchmen? Am I wrong?

Nene - At the y-fronts or the waxy buildup?

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I have the problem that every time I try to order something in a bar, the barperson invariably mis-hears me and starts pouring or serving something completely different! And I know I have a crystal clear voice. The sure way to get cream added to hot chocolate is to request one without. Or are these people just so insufferably bored by what they do, they simply lose the ability to hear the customer any longer.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Hi Laura - ditto. My diction is (comparatively) impeccable. Maybe we're just polite and don't yell, so they can't hear us. Or maybe we're ordering something a bit different, and the staff are so attuned to "dry white wine" or "grande wet skinny mochaccino" that it takes them a while to work out what we asked for. That's my charitable interpretation of their behaviour, anyway..

Anonymous said...

Eh...wax rarely causes hearing loss....pay attention

enjoyed the joke though