You must excuse me, my cheeks are still glowing a warm shade of red from an embarrassing episode in Pret a Manger this morning.
There I was, buying my banana and sparkling water and after the 10th pardon, still with no clue what the man behind the till was saying to me.
It’s a noisy place, to be fair, but even my lipreading skills were no help, because in this instance, it turns out he was pronouncing a letter that’s usually silent – and this letter was the ‘p’ in receipt.
This ‘p’ and closure of his lips in the pattern of this word completely threw me. I had no clue what he was saying.
I looked to his colleague, who also seemed to pronounce the ‘p’, which was no help and eventually he gave up and said – do you want the paper thing?
Hurrah! Now I knew what was going on… but by this stage I was a gibbering, stammering, embarrassed ball of blondeness and he was pretty baffled, too.
‘I’m deaf,’ I reassured him – desperate for him not to think it was his English that was the problem – although it kind of was, but I don’t think he understood me.
So I grabbed my stuff and legged it – still red – to work.
It’s a long time since my lipreading skills let me down – I’m normally too on the ball, nosily reading people’s conversations in bars and restaurants, or from my bus in a traffic jam.
The other day I witnessed THE BEST fight between a couple – I think tourists – who were lost on Oxford Street. The guy had his back to me, so I was treated to a one-sided conversation as the girl ranted and raved about the fact that he didn’t know know where they were. It was getting so heated that I almost felt like getting off the bus and telling them where they were, just so she’d stop going mental at him.
Tomorrow, when I go into Pret, I am going to be on ‘p’ alert – or maybe I’ll just buy my banana from Somerfield like everyone else.