Excerpt from work-related phone call to Italy this morning.
Me: May I speak to Elena, please?
Italian Man: (incomprehensible babble)
Me: I’m sorry, non parlo italiano. May I speak to Elena?
IM: I pardon you, please?
Me: I want to speak to Elena.
IM: Again, please, pardon you.
Me: Para inglese? I have an order for some furniture, I need to talk to someone about it.
IM: No English… you need talk Elena.
Me: I see… may I please speak to her, instead, then?
Me: Oh.. um…
IM: You telephone at afternoon, please thank you.
Me: OK. After lunch?
IM: Ehhh… not yet.
IM: I am to be not yet eating the lunch, I thank you.
Me: Right… right. I will call back after lunch.
IM: You are in Italy?
Me: Eh? No. I’m in Ireland.
IM: But we are in Italy.
Me: Yes, I know that.
IM: I do not understand. You will eat the lunch here another day?
Me: What?! No! I don’t want to have lunch with you, I will CALL BACK AFTER LUNCH. On the tel-ee-phone-ee.
IM: For the lunch this afternoon?
Me: NO!!! I telephone later. Thank you – grazie.
Hang up phone and moan softly to self. End scene.