I ran out of minutes, so I needed to go to the Phone Store to buy some new ones. Remember, I told you that the man is professional but unfriendly. So I grudgingly trudged up to the entrance of the shop. I put on my little old lady feel sorry for me face and with short shuffling steps and wavering a bit I entered the shop. I spoke in a soft voice and said Bon Jour, which is an etiquette thing one must do whenever entering or leaving an establishment, and he answered me without looking up. He was waiting on another customer. So I smiled and waited, still trying to maintain my helpless and fragile look.
After half an hour, my turn finally came and he knew exactly what I wanted. I had bought minutes before, but I didn't believe he would remember me. He said he could sell me the minutes, but he couldn't put them in. I looked astonished, and said I didn't know how. This was a bit of a fabrication, but why do it if he will. He said he would teach me, but that it's not in his job description to teach me or to put the minutes in. I looked grateful and told him he was a great person and I appreciated all he was doing for me. (I remembered how obsequious my father was, when he'd been drinking heavily and a policeman pulled him over. Good training, that.)
So he turned the telephone to speaker and told me what to dial. I listened to the rapid fire French, which to him was evidently easy to understand. By the time I figured out the first three words the woman had finished the paragraph. Then I pushed 4 with his instruction. Another rapid fire paragraph and then pause. Now, he said, now you put in the 20 numbers on this sheet. I did just that and thank whatever gods may be, it worked. Again I thanked him profusely, still trying to maintain the soft voice and fragile appearance, said Bon Soir and left. Out of sight, I dropped the act and strode back to our apartment.