Picture the scene. You’ve been out for a lovely meal with me.
We’ve munched through three succulent courses, some beautiful wine and have rounded off the experience with coffee and a wafer thin mint.
Neither of us could manage a bit more when suddenly, and unexpectedly, I call the waiter over and ask him to bring… the menu. You recoil in horror at my gluttony, the waiter gasps at my disregard for the subtleties of fine dining and – quite pathetically – I’m left blowing out the candle on a table for one.
An unlikely scenario I admit and, let’s be honest, I may have embellished certain parts of this potential faux-pas for dramatic effect but this is exactly what happens every time wifey and I are lucky enough to visit foreign climes and have a nice meal while we’re there.
It doesn’t matter how many times I sit in the hotel room practising “can I have the bill” or how many times I repeat the word over in my head after we have alerted the garcon I ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS… in capitals) ask for the menu.
At first it was amusing. Then it was embarrassing. Now I think everyone believes I do it on purpose. I don’t. I’m just an idiot. Even in Barcelona where, after nearly 20 years, my GCSE Spanish came flooding back to me, I kept on asking for the menu at the end of the meal.
In our 21st century multi-cultural Britain, many people speak more languages at a younger age than ever before. I cannot imagine what it must be like being multilingual before you reach primary school but in the coming decades that will be the rule rather than the exception.
Personally, I think it’s remarkable and goes some way to helping us understand one another and make the human race one big nationality in itself.
That being said, however, I hope nobody asks me out for dinner, as I’ll only embarrass myself when it’s time to pay.