I’m at someone else's home and a man that I've met several times in my life is trying to tell me something, but he’s speaking in some kind of black belt level Hungarian and I’m merely a yellow belt at best. But he’s really, really trying. He’s doing actions, strenuously acting out what he’s trying to say and also attempting to get others to translate for him. For some reason they won't.
The next morning I’m having breakfast with Zsuzsa, but I’m still curious as to what the man was trying to tell me.
“What does ‘shoey’ mean?” I ask.
Zsuzsa doesn’t respond.
“Or ‘skuey’ or something like that.”
“Asparagus makes food so posh doesn’t it?” is Zsuzsa’s somewhat left field answer.
“I mean it’s just so straight and green. There’s nothing else like it. Just put some asparagus on a plate with some eggs on toast and it takes it to a whole new level. So posh.”
“Yes, but I’m asking about what the man was saying.”
“Just look at it! Look!” says Zsuzsa undeterred, steadfastly pointing to the asparagus on our breakfast plates. “Straight, green, posh.”
But she's not the only stubborn mule in town. I will continue with my inquisition and not be distracted by asparagus.
“You heard what he was saying, yes?” I ask.
“And I know you love how it makes your pee-pee smell.” replies my asparagus obsessed wife.
“Honey. You know I do! If I could bottle it and make an ea du toilette I would! But please, please enough about asparagus. What was the man saying? I know you overheard us from upstairs.”
A silence befalls the breakfast arena as Zsuzsa contemplates.
“Honey?” I plead.
“I don’t want to say.”
“Honey! Tell me!” I insist.
Zsuzsa sighs, the inevitability of the situation taking hold.
“He said...you’ve put on a bit of weight.”
“Sorry honey. I told you I didn’t want to say.”
“Now it all makes sense. Now I know why he was grabbing his belly and jiggling it all around!” I say, outraged.
“For what it’s worth, it’s not true honey. I don’t think you’ve put on any weight.”
“If I have it’s not my fault. It’s impossible to exercise with two young children! When could I exercise? In between keeping two small humans alive and working, when could I do it? Plus my toes! I’ve got two bad toes! I’ve been handicapped since January! Bastard!”
“Honey, listen to me. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You haven’t put on any weight. I’d have noticed.”
“What’s the Hungarian for ‘You look so, so very shit.’? I need to remember it for the next time I meet the man. See how he likes a taste of his own bittersweet medicine.”
“Sweetheart. It’s a Hungarian thing. Don’t take it personally. Hungarians are much blunter than Brits. They say it how they see it. My parents are always telling me how bad I look. Hey. Where are you going?”
I’m up from breakfast table in a flash and heading over to Lola.
“What are you doing?”
I pick Lola up and start doing curls with her.
“Honey. Sit down. You haven’t finished your posh breakfast.”
But it’s no use. I’ve decided that eating is not on the menu for a while, no matter how posh it is. I’ve got squats to do with a baby. Then sit-ups to do with a baby. The I might jog around the flat with her strapped to me like Luke Skywalker did with Yoda on his back in The Empire Strikes Back. If the gym will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the baby weight-gym. Whether true or not, this rumour of a dad-bod must be exterminated.
“Alexa. Play ‘Gonna Fly Now’ from the Rocky soundtrack.”
Adrenaline begins coursing through my veins as inspirational music fills the living room. Lola and I begin squatting whilst I make a mental note to learn the Hungarian for “You look so, so, very shit”.