Monday, January 17, 2011

Fish Out Of Water Rule # 1 Never Make The Same Mistake Twice

The lovely village of Minerve in the south of France

Last night I indulged in my guilty pleasure by watching an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters International set in the south of France. The house stood in the beautiful medieval village of Minerve, with an impressive Roman arch bridge spanning a deep ravine. The sight of the village brought back a not so pleasant moment that took place in a lovely vine-covered restaurant overlooking the ravine. 

I was with my impeccably dressed friend Lisette, and we had just finished ordering lunch when she stood up and said, “Can you come outside?” 

I sat stunned. My grandmother had the same disapproving tone in her voice whenever she noticed my pants were riding a bit too low. I instinctively checked my jeans as I stood up and walked out of the restaurant.

Lisette kicked at a stone while she nervously smoked a cigarette. What the heck had I done? I hated being thought of as the typical ugly American. I stared at her through a veil of smoke. “Is everything okay?” 

She gave me a smile as she put out her cigarette.

“I’m sorry, but I wanted to point out that you didn’t say thank you when the waitress gave you the menu. When she filled your water glass you just smiled.”

Can you say fish out of water moment? I followed Lisette back into the restaurant and made sure to say thank you, merci, when the waitress returned with our food. An amazing plat de jour of duck confit and truffle potatoes. When the waitress brought the dessert menu I said merci loud and clear. 

So before the chocolate mousse had a chance to hit the table, I once again I said, "merci."

By the polite nudge I received from Lisette, I probably went a little thank you crazy.   

Moral of the story:Always follow Fish Out of Water Rule #One: Never make the same mistake twice, or you might wind up with chocolate mouse in your lap! 


  1. yikes lisette! She must have been a waitress with a baguette to grind at one time. I bet the waitresses love her though. I was a waitress at one time and I always thought the best thank you was a big tip!

  2. LOL I think waitresses everywhere would agree!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I was also taught that, especially in France, it is important to greet the waitress -- or shop keeper or anyone you meet on the street, for that matter -- with a bonjour and a smile, before ordering from the menu, or asking the price of something, or whatever. Americans seem to be 'all business,' whereas most people in foreign countries enjoy a little personal interface prior to a transaction.

    Ihla Crowley
    a.k.a. Drifter Sister