And Some Fell On Stony Ground…

June 11th, 2007

Dear Mum,

I enjoy shopping in Larnaca. It’s never a straightforward experience. Something funny nearly always happens. It does to me anyway!

There’s a small supermarket/kiosk type thingy that I go to regularly which is owned by a guy in his thirties. Cypriot at a guess but he speaks English fluently with only a small trace of an accent. Always very friendly.

One of the girls who works there occasionally is also very pleasant, and quite attractive in a there’s-something-about-her sort of way. Her English is very good too, but she’s not the brightest light on the Christmas tree. I’ve tried my sense of humour on her several times, but so far I’ve drawn a total blank.

A couple of days ago, I plonked my basket of goodies on the counter and she rang them up.

Anything else?

A packet of Rennies please”  –   which are kept on a small set of shelves behind the counter with other similar things like headache pills etc.

She followed my gaze to the shelf and then looked back at me with a puzzled expression on her face. I said it again,

Rennie. Red box on the top shelf.

So she started looking along the third shelf down and stopped at the Rizlas. They were red! Must be that.

No. The TOP shelf. Above the condoms.

No disrespect, but she looks like she’d know what a condom is.

She looked at me blankly. Then it registered.

Aaah!”  –  Rennie was obviously a euphemism!

So she handed me a packet of condoms, looking very pleased with herself for working it out. And I swear there was a sniggering twinkle in her eye!

The owner was watching all this with a big smile on his face, enjoying it too much to intervene. He raised his eyebrows and shook his head, as if to say, ‘You just can’t get the staff‘.

I repeated everything I’d said.

Top shelf. Red box. ABOVE the condoms. Rennie.

I didn’t know what else to call them. They’re called Rennies. It says so in big letters on the box.

Nothing! Just a blank expression as she stared at the shelves, hoping that a box of Rennies would start jumping up and down, screaming “Me, me!

In the end, the owner reached across and picked up a box and handed it to her. She looked puzzled again.

Rennie? What is this?

It’s for indigestion“, I said, rubbing my stomach.

Blank look.

Heartburn“, rubbing my heart and wincing.

Still nothing.

Heartache! It’s for when you’re in love. It takes away the pain that women inflict on you.

Enlightenment at last. She looked impressed. She clearly had no idea that they’d invented such a pill. If only!

The owner was struggling to contain himself. He thought he’d seen it all!

So she rang up the Rennies and was about to ring up the packet of condoms too.

It’s ok. I don’t need those… I bought 12 yesterday, and I still have one left.

Same blank expression while she tried to work it out. She never got there. She turned to look frustratedly at the owner who was by now chuckling out loud.

So you no want these, no?

No thanks… not unless you’re at a loose end tonight?

No change in her expression! I know her English is good. What does it take…?

I gave up. I paid for my groceries and left, no doubt leaving the owner to explain to her what just happened.

But I’ll be back. And I WILL make her laugh! Who can resist a challenge like that…


©MPB 11/June/2007


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