So, to say that my priest is good with languages would be a great lie. He struggles and he struggles so intensely that the only result is pure comedy. In this case, hurt my brain from laughing so hard comedy.
My priest does not do well when I am sick; thankfully for our family, this rarely happens. I am pretty healthy and so he never has to deal with too many household responsibilities. However, now that I have a concussion he has a whole new set of jobs. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say he was surprised at how often and how much our children need to eat. Pippa didn’t get this delightfully juicy from eating nothing.
So as I lay in bed, my priest decided to answer and make phone calls while sitting beside me as I attempted to rest my brain. It all began with me telling him that Maggie needed a new field hockey stick. Pre-injury I sourced a local Portuguese company that sells field hockey equipment online. They are located very close to our home and one of the other parents told me that you just need to call the owner and go pick up the equipment to avoid the high shipping costs. I had the owner’s phone number and all my priest needed to do was to ask for a Gryphon stick size 36.5. It was pretty easy. That was all he needed to say. He dials the number and there is no answer, only a message in Portuguese. He freezes. I can see his face contort. He leaves his message. He starts by saying hello and then requests the stick. He doesn’t stick to the script. He later claimed the Portuguese message threw him off. He asks to order a Gryphon stick, size 36.5….centimeters. What??? I say not centimeters…it sounds like she is an elf. He panics. He tries to backtrack and then embarrassed, he hangs up the phone. Needless to say, Maggie doesn’t have her new stick, but I laughed for a good hour about the 36.5 centimeter stick that my gigantic daughter will be bending over to play field hockey with.
My priest answers some emails and then asks if I remember the name of the lady at our bank who speaks English. I barely remembered my name at that point and I had to say no. He calls the bank. The man who answers speaks no English. My priest panics. He starts talking louder and slower…classic. Finally, he speaks Portuguese. What does he say? Why how about every word he knows…which strung together sounded like this: good morning, good afternoon, thank you. I am again, dying of laughter. The man on the other end must have taken pity on him and found a coworker who could help out. When my priest went to the bank a few days later, the English speaking lady had heard all about his call and had enjoyed a good laugh. Glad I wasn’t the only one who liked his humor!
Later in the day, I wandered downstairs and the girls were watching tv while my priest was reading the New Yorker. The phone rings and he picks it up. The person on the other end speaks no English. My priest tries to hand me the phone because I can understand Portuguese and I still pretend to speak it, all the while just really changing Italian words…but it works. I was still too tired to take the phone. My priest is drowning. He tells the person he can’t speak Portuguese. He tells them that this is not a hotel. He tells them he has a friend who speaks Portuguese. He offers to give them his friend’s phone number. He pronounces her name, Barbara, like it is the most foreign sounding name ever. He rolls the ‘r’s’ in Barbara. Then he stops speaking. He listens and then says, “obrigado,” thank you in Portuguese. An English speaker was on the phone, finally, and explained everything to him. I am still laughing uncontrollably about Barrrr-ba-rrrr-a. The call was not about a hotel or the wrong number. Apparently, my priest ordered paint for his car and it was ready for pick up. Why in the hell he thought people needed hotel help or why his friend could help, no one knows….but I do know that he makes me laugh, at his expense often, and he doesn’t even mind.