One of our shopping forays for our daughter Piglet in France was to buy a whole list of obscure items including gel to kill ants, bra extensions, baby wipes and condoms. It was like being sent on a “mission”. The shopping list, although not particularly long, was just not the run of the mill items like baguettes, croissants, meat, fruit and vegetables which we were usually tasked to buy.
The purpose of the condoms, I discovered (well I had to ask), was to make sausage-shaped ice packs to help relieve the pain of her fractured coccyx. This novel idea was apparently suggested by a nurse.
Armed with a wad of prescriptions and the “shopping list” Mr. Piglet and I set off in search of some shops. Bearing in mind we do not speak French and we were not familiar with that area of France the list proved to be a bit of a challenge and we were gone for hours!
I could not face searching for condoms in the supermarket so I opted for the Pharmacy while Mr. Piglet waited for the prescriptions. I quickly scanned the shop and spotting a display-stand I nonchalantly walked over to investigate. Trying to look like I was not really interested in the display must have made me look suspicious; there were so many different types to choose from colored, ribbed, horned etc, I hovered indecisively.
“Madame” I turned to find a shop assistant standing beside me.
Deep in thought I nearly jumped out of my skin; I felt so embarrassed. “…errrr, parlez–vous Anglais?” I stuttered blushing several shades of pink through to red.
“errr” I hesitated, then blurted out “I want some condoms so I can fill them with water and freeze them”
“Pardon Madame?” she said in a surprised tone as she raised one eyebrow as if to accentuate her misunderstanding.
Yes, I can see why she thought she had misheard my request. So I quickly explained that the nurse had suggested my daughter used condoms as ice packs to relieve the pain caused by a fractured coccyx. She looked at me in complete amazement as she considered my explanation. I swear I could almost hear her mind turning over. “Oui, it’s now official – ze English are crazy!”
“I’ll take these” I smiled sweetly as I grabbed a nondescript packet and went in search of Mr. Piglet.
Mission accomplished we returned to the house and I related the condom story to my daughter. As I acted out both parts with voices and expressions she laughed so much she nearly split her stitches. Oh well glad I cheered someone up. Her hubby was then dispatched to fill some condoms with water and freeze.
The icing on the cake to this story was when the following day our daughter requested her hubby bring a frozen condom to help relieve her pain. I don’t know how I stopped myself laughing out loud when he produced one – filled to bursting point and rather deformed. While my baby Piglet gave him an exasperated look I was given the dubious task of disposing of it.
Now bearing in mind I was staying with in-laws and there was a house full of people what on earth was I meant to do with it? Well, I could hardly put it down the toilet could I? I took the offending article to the kitchen to find a sharp knife so I could release the condom. I was stabbing away at said condom with some vigour when I felt a presence behind me. Oh no, I turned to find my son-in-law’s elderly grandmother standing behind watching my actions with a mixture of curiosity and horror.
Not a word was spoken; she did not speak English and my actions, to her, so say spoke a thousand words. I smiled, shrugged, removed the condom from the ice and threw it in the rubbish bin. The ice left in the sink to melt as though it was an everyday occurrence.
How do you think she related her side of the story to her friends?.
Yes, its official the English are “crazy” but at least we can laugh at ourselves – well I can!
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