Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Numbers

No. No, I didn't. It would have been a rather pleasant end to a sunny day that began with two stories in the Herald and continued with a shortened day of French at school that included two free periods; but alas at the Accor hotels promotional event I wasn't one of the seven lucky souls whose business cards scored them a key in a lucky draw. They then had to try the keys in the door of this shiny red Peugeot Allure hatchback while everyone else watched jealously, and put on their best Oscar also-ran face when nothing happened. The fourth lady was the lucky one, the flashing lights on the car the signal for everyone else to head for the doors, full of free wine and tasty canapés but still dissatisfied. Was it too much to ask, having done French all day, for me to win a French car? Apparently so. Tch.

It was probably payback for advising the Year 9s to grunt and hack as they practised saying the numbers 1-10, and for mocking the convoluted system for 70-99, and for comparing nouns to little children, never allowed out on their own without an article holding their hands. Who knows if this stuff helps them remember? It amuses me, and passes the hour, and that's good enough. Numbers always trip you up when you're travelling, though, and doing your best to use another language. One to ten, or even 20 is all very well, but it's the big ones you really need, and when they're being gabbled at you as you stand in a queue with a press of people behind you, and you're trying to remember what the words mean, and relate that to the unfamiliar coins and notes in your pocket - well, it's a lot of stress to go through, for a slice of mille-feuilles and an Orangina.

And then, at the end of the evening, there was a spare half hour to wait, spent in the foyer of what was actually an Auckland casino but could have been in Hong Kong, judging by the clientele - more people playing with numbers and without a doubt having as much success as I did with the Peugeot. Although one person, at some point, had clearly lined all his up lucky.

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