Door bell at work, this afternoon: "I'm the Polish interpreter" "Ok" I said, and let him in. A few minutes later I was looking at a, to me, very un-Polish & un-Norwegian looking, black bloke. Now, even though we're pretending to be modern and international over here, most natives are still blond. This fellow, though, spoke Polish fluently and Norwegian with a slight accent.
The lawyer who'd requested his help was totally flabbergasted, and said: "do you really speak Polish?" To which his new friend replied "do you really speak Norwegian?" Our Norwegian-Pakistani lawyer grinned. Need I say there was general good humour all around...
Meanwhile, during all of this, I didn't bat an eyelid. I've been trained to look dignified on a Harley.
Many years ago I spent four months in Crete (Greece!). Apart from every other blessing living in paradise, I also made some new friends. One was an Englishman who had settled in Chania, working as an English teacher. I can tell you largely about his many wonderful qualities later... But he was also the owner of a Harley Davidson.
I have no idea why, I'd never even met anyone with a Harley before, but I just love them. Not perhaps the extreme type where you lie backwards, and the front wheel enters one town while the pillion rider's still in the last... But his was a Low Rider Convertible, and it was - Perfect. The back seat was like a comfy chair :) (I would of course post pictures of me on this bike, if only our scanner would fix itself... His bike was exactly like this one, though.)
We spent days travelling around Western Crete, visiting remote villages and secluded beaches. There is no end to where you can travel on a Harley! We got lost and were invited in for wine and biscuits (Greek philoxenia is not just a myth). We were running out of village. Frequently.
And most of the time I was grinning like a madman, enjoying myself beyond sanity! Even in the remotest mountain village, people would nod appreciatively, and even old black-clad widows would put their knitwork aside and come out to study the "Xhhxarley Dayvitson"... I was beaming with pride!
Then The Englishman told me my grinning wasn't quite in style with the Harley... I agreed. So I practiced looking dignified on a Harley. I would get on or off the bike with a suave, world-tired look, as if this was an everyday experience and frankly, quite boring. (Then I'd run around a corner and GRIN for an hour until I could wear a straight face again...) We enjoyed ourselves immensely, managing to scream with laughter on the inside while still looking bored...
This lesson has proved valuable many times later in life. Like this afternoon at work! (See? There was a point to all this.)
"Looking dignified with a quad pram" went like a breeze... The pram looked like a small fleet, and attracted a great deal of attention. But we were unimpressed... The crowd would be talking - rather loudly - about how the babies could possibly all be the same age etc, and we'd always pretend not to hear them. (My hubby turned out to be a natural dignified-looker!)
"Looking dignified with a prominent client" - piece of cake! Bring on the celebrity drunk-driving clients, I'd lead them to their lawyers without even letting off that I recognised them. And bring their coffee without spilling any - not even mentioning autographs :)
There's just a little Grace Kelly in us all...