Have Tongue Will Travel
As an international, senior executive communication coach, living in New York, I find myself in the privileged position of being the confidant in the mysterious drama of the misunderstood global traveler. I'll show you what I mean.
"What ret wine are you talking about?"
A Swiss banking client of mine, now living in New York, could never understand why every time she ordered a glass of red wine, in a trendy bar, with the newest in ambient-noise, she always got white instead. She said this never happens in the quiet intimacy of her Upper Eastside wine shop.
Two Fridays ago she went into the fashionable Campbell Apartment, in Grand Central Station, around 6:30. At that time of evening the decibel level is up, the conversation heady. She ordered a glass of red wine, 95 Celine Cabernet Sauvignon. In a leisurely flash a glass of white wine appeared. It happened again.
As I listened to her travails, it was obvious what was happening. In the Swiss-German language, the letter "d" at the end of a word sounds much closer to a "t." I pointed this out and asked my client to name the colors of the American flag. "Ret, white ant blue," she said. "Once again, much slower this time" I said. "Ret, white. . . " with a look of pure delight she said, "Oh my lort, ah, lord" with a strong, obvious d, "I was never aware I was doing dat." "That," I said with a smile. "But, why would that make a difference?" she asked.
I pointed out, in a noisy place, when a waiter or waitress is asking for the order, what he or she is probably going to hear is the click of the "t" at the end of the word. When she tested my theory, sure enough, she heard herself begin the word "red" with a very soft "r" that sounded like a cross between an "h" and a "w." What it sounded like she said was "hwet."
Totally pleased, and with an intelligent twinkle in her eye, my client looked at me with curious amazement and said "vell. . . let's celebrate my new revelation over a colt beer."
"Sounds mostly good to me" I replied.
A Womb for Three Nights, s'il vous plait
At the registration desk of a five star hotel in the Midwest, a very senior, internationally renowned French advertising guru, nearly rewrote The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. He stepped up to the desk and told the attendant, "I'd like a womb for three nights." "Excuse me, sir?" replied the polite young man. "Are there any wombs left for the evening?" Marc asked. The silence that followed my...