I went to the emergency room the other day and there were two receptionists manning the front desk. My trip to the ER turned into a verbal adventure.
Me: I was trying to clean my ears but the wax in my right ear is not coming out and is lodged deep inside.
Receptionist 1 (R1): OK. Let me have your ID card and then you will see the doctor. You said you are a private patient?
Me: Yes, I am a private patient.
Receptionist 2 (R2): You have a problem with your right ear?
Me: Yes, and I require an ENT specialist’s assistance.
R2 (making a gesture of clicking on a lighter and moving it to her right ear): If you have a problem with your ear, why then did you light a candle and put it in your ear?
I did not understand what she was saying and confusion must have shown on my face.
R2: You said you have wax in your ears. It means you put a burning candle in your ear and ended up with wax in there. Why would you do that?
Me: No, no! I did not do that. The dirt in one’s ears is called ‘wax’ in English and that’s what I am talking about.
R2: Oh, OK. I understand now. I wondered why you would want to burn yourself.
R1, as she gave me back my ID card: May I ask something? For how long have you lived in Austria?
Me: Four years.
R1: That’s a long time. How come you don’t have health insurance?
Me: I have insurance through my employer, but not through the Austrian Government.
R1: I see. I am sorry for asking, but I am a noisy person.
I got my ID card and took a seat.
R1 (speaking to herself): Noisy? I am noise. I am nose. Aargh! How do I say it? Nose? I am nose? Yes, I am nose.
I knew R1 wanted to say she was ‘nosey’, but I did not feel like running an English lesson at that time and so I left her to her conclusion.