Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

this doesn't bode well for being taken seriously in my new job

A pack of schoolkids had got to the interval queue before me, and I prepared to wait patiently while they ordered their cokes and chocolate bars.

The woman behind the counter was serving them one by one.

'Dla Ciebie?' she'd say ('for you?'), before handing over a can, 'a dla Ciebie?'

Ciebie is the familiar form, and Pan/Pani is polite. It's the worst part of other languages, this, and I have become the queen of creating sentences that avoid all mentions of 'you'.

Soon, there were just a couple of kids in front of me.

'Dla Ciebie?' I heard, directed at the girl directly in front of me. She wanted a sprite, and some crisps.

'A dla Ciebie?' I heard again, and realised, as I met her eyes, that it was directed at me.

'Oh, ah two coffees please,' I ordered, wondering if she was always this familiar. 'I only have 100, will that be a problem?'

Now in Poland, not having change is a sin that can get you booed out of a shop. As a customer, you are expected to have worked out the exact total of your purchases and have it ready, down to the grosz. I expected a sigh, a raised eyebrow at least, and maybe some light swearing if she was really low on change.

'Should be fine!' she smiled, as I steadied myself on the counter from the shock. She must just be a friendly, over-familiar pleasant person, I thought to myself, marvelling at the astonishingness of it all. I wish I could just call people Ciebie, without caring, without worrying about the consequences.

I moved to the side to put milk in the coffees and let the girl behind me order.

'Dla Pani?' I heard, and almost spilled the drinks.

The girl behind me in the queue must have been my age.

The girl behind the counter must have thought I was still at school.

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Blogger pinolona said...

I still get asked for a dokument when I try to buy booze here...
It's a Good Thing, honest!

11:54 am  

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