Monday, October 13, 2008

All That Glisters - -

I was walking towards the Arc de Triomphe on Friday when a teenage girl came walking towards me. She was slightly grubby and unkempt-looking and just slightly odd.

She bent down and apparently picked something up.

It was a ring, too large really to be a real ring, and apparently made of gold.

"Look," she said to me in French, "I have found this ring."

She pointed to some writing on the inside, supposedly a hallmark.

"You see? It is made of gold!"

I could see that it clearly was not made of any such thing: it was made of metal and was certainly yellow, but that was the closest to gold that it was ever going to get. However, I was slightly at a loss as to where this was going - - and, since there was just her and me, and she was definitely a bit strange, I thought I'd just keep quiet, hold tight to my handbag and see what happened next.

She showed me how it was too large for her slim fingers.

"It doesn't fit me," she said. "You have it." She handed it to me and I made to set off away from her, without speaking.

"But" she said (and, d'you know what, I'd been waiting for the "but")
"I have no money. And I have found this ring. And I am poor and hungry. Would you give me some money in exchange for the ring?"

Aaah. Now I knew where it was going, and I wasn't going to go with it.

I knew I had 20 cents in my pocket so gave her that, to her evident disgust.

"That's all," I said.

She said it wasn't enough, so I shrugged and offered her the ring back. She glowered and walked away, leaving me with the ring.

About a mile later on, as I approached the Arc de Triomphe, a young man bent down in front of me.

"Look," he said, in French "I have found this ring."

"Sorry, I don't speak French," I said and walked on.

As I wandered round the Aerospace Exhibition on the Champs-Elysees, another young woman bent to the ground.

"Look," she said, in French, "I have found this ring."

"Je ne suis pas as verte comme je suis cabbage-looking" I said in fluent Franglais. She looked puzzled and went on her way.

As I walked past the Louvre along the banks of the Seine a slightly older woman bent to the ground in front of me.

"Look," she said, in French, "I have found this ring."

I was getting bored now and also wondering what is it about me that makes me always, always a target for this kind of thing.

I considered "Oh, just fuck off, will you?" but settled for "Sono Italiano" and that worked.

All my life I've had this kind of thing. In the Seventies it was the Moonies who were always trying to get me to go with them for a cup of tea. Anyone with a scam or the weirder religious leanings makes a complete bee-line for me. One theory is that the pupils of my eyes are always large, which is true: apparently this makes me look both warm and welcoming (which I am, unless you're trying to con me) and also very gullible.

No doubt it's connected to the respectability that I know I give off in bucketloads. If you know me, you'll know what I mean. I don't know what it is that I do, of course.

Anyway, I took a photo of the ring, back at the hotel, on top of the hotel's book containing information and very expensive menus, and here it is.

So there we have it! A luxurious Paris hotel and the seamier side of Parisian life all neatly captured in one photograph.

When I publish Daphne's Book of Pretentious Arty Photographs this will be the one on the cover.


Blogger Jennyta said...

Well, that's one I've never heard of before, Daphne, and to have it tried on you so many time in one evening!

8:20 pm  
Anonymous Bun said...

LOL, laughed out loud when I read this! Love hearing you use the F word - is a rarity! I too would have been pissed off to have had that trick repeatedly played on me.

8:41 pm  
Anonymous Jay said...

Oh - I've heard of this scam! I'm told it's 'gypsies' who try this one on, whatever the heck that means these days!

I think I would just say 'Oh, lucky you!!' LOL!

10:45 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I read the more recent post before this one and left a comment that the tramps may have been Moonies (a word I hadn't heard in years), and then I see it on this post. How bizarre!

The ring scam does sound like gypsies, I think.

3:09 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I have had this conversation twice in the past few days, and the subject actually fits in context here.

I think the saying would be more accurate if it were "Not all that glisters (or glistens) is gold" instead of "All that glisters (or glistens) is not gold" because, you know, part of what glisters (or glistens) is gold.

My friends on this side of the pond look at me as though I am a raving maniac. What I'm saying seems to go over their heads completely. What say you?

3:16 am  
Blogger Daphne said...

Rhymeswithplague - - the correct phrase is as I wrote it, not glistens or glitters as many people think, though that's what it means. It's a quotation from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Act 2 Scene 7 and actually it does mean "Not everything that glisters is gold though some of it could be" - - - so it's 17th-century English and doesn't need to be reworded. (I used to be an English teacher, can you tell?) Thanks to everyone for your comments as usual!

7:15 am  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

I dunno what D thinks, but I think Shakespeare/pere/pare/beer has been dead a long time, but you could write to his editors.

7:32 am  

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