The Bad Arse
We’re in a coffee shop near our home. It’s a lovely little coffee shop with a 1920’s New York style interior and jazz music playing in the background. If Woody Allen was not an American-Jewish actor/writer/director, but instead a coffee shop based in Budapest, he’d be this coffee shop. Mila is lounging by the window, relaxing after a strenuous morning of nappy changing while Zsuzsa and I are chatting about my film script whilst waiting for our drinks to arrive.
“It’s a bit like that film.” says Zsuzsa.
“Which film?” I ask.
“The one with the man in. You know? The man with the brown hair.”
I nod in agreement. As I’m sure you are all aware, now that she’s narrowed it down to every film ever made except for Finding Nemo, Zsuzsa must be referring to the Hollywood remake of Oldboy starring the brown haired actor, Josh Brolin. But if I’m honest, I’m not really paying that much attention as I have something else on my mind. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to force myself to speak Hungarian. I mean, it seems like the sensible thing to do if I have any desire to minimise situations where I'm ordering Irish coffee's at 0900am or being smacked in the face by a Russian man's testicles. Spurred on by this mission I’ve been muddling through conversations since 00:01 on January 1st. Some conversations are proving easier than others. For example I’ve just ordered a coffee for myself and a fruit tea infusion for my lovely wife. It was a doddle, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Take yesterday for example…
I’m in an office that I frequent a couple of days a week. I’m on my way back to my desk from the kitchen, when I spot a lady who usually sits near me. She’s standing at a chest high desk, typing away on her laptop. I’ve seen such things before. People with bad backs do this. With my New Year’s resolution in mind I decide to converse with the lady in her native tongue. I will dazzle her with my vocabulary and ask her if she has a bad back! She will love this!
“Rossz hátsó oldal?” I say, beaming smile upon my face.
But the lady just stares at me. She looks a bit shocked. Did I get that right? Or should it have been…?
“Uh, rossz segg?”
No. That didn't seem to help. The shocked look is still there and now it’s tinged with sadness. I also now realise that everyone in the office is silent and staring at us. If my office had a piano player he would have stopped playing. Slowly, and very uncomfortably, the standing lady points to her bottom with a questioning look.
“Uh” I say, smiling whilst backing away towards my desk.
I sit down and turn to the guy sitting next to me.
“What did I say?” I ask.
He leans in.
“You told her she has a bad arse.” he whispers.
We’re now back at the coffee shop. Zsuzsa looks at me, deep in thought.
“You’re still thinking about telling that lady that she had a bad arse aren't you?” she asks.
“Don’t worry honey. You’ll get there. Just keep on practicing Hungarian and you’ll soon be able to speak to people without deeply insulting them.
I pick up Mila to stop her licking the window and smile meekly at my wife’s kind words. A moment later and our drinks arrive. We stare at our order of coffee and fruit tea infusion in unison. They are both a nuclear yellow colour and covered in whipped cream. They also appear to be lacking in coffee, or indeed, fruit tea infusion.
“What the hell did you order honey?” ask Zsuzsa whilst sniffing her drink.
“I’ve no idea.” I respond, whilst wondering if it’s too late to swap my speaking Hungarian resolution for something less dangerous. Maybe I'll become a cage fighter instead.