2 monkeys in a bag

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Let me set the stage. My family and I were at the Bordeaux Airport, checking in our bags at the Delta ticket counter. After three weeks in France, I felt confident enough in my French to handle the check-in process for my family. Here’s a direct translation how I got along:

Delta guy: Bonjour, Madame.

Me: Bonjour, Monsieur. Here are our tickets. We have 3 suitcases and also 2 monkeys in a bag.

Delta guy: No monkeys.

Meuh. Oui. 3 suitcases and 2 monkeys in a bag. (this time I spoke more slowly and clearly)

Delta guy: No monkeys.

Me: Mais, oui monsieur! We have 2 baby monkeys in this bag! (this indignant jerk! why doesn’t he believe me?)

Delta guy: No monkeys.

Then I suddenly realized that the French word for monkeys is very similar to the word for seats (as in baby seats or car seats)… I had 2 baby seats in one bag. Delta gives special allowances for baby seats and I didn’t want to be charged for that bag.

Me: Oooohh. Sorry. I have two baby seats in this bag.

Delta guy: Tres bien, madame.

At this point my husband and daughters (who actually speak French) were on the floor, howling in fits of laughter.

Learning a foreign language is so much fun.