I broke a nail

The most trivial encounter with Zipf’s Law EVER.

A nail file. Picture source: me.
A nail file. Picture source: me.

Pulling my suitcases off of the luggage carousel at Charles de Gaulle airport the other day, I broke a nail.  So, I go into the hell that is Monoprix and want to ask a saleslady for a nail file, but of course Zipf’s Law strikes–I don’t know how to say “nail file.”  The sales lady and myself have the following conversation.  (If it’s in italics, it happened in French.)

Me: It there is something to fix?  [I show her my broken nail.]

Saleslady: You want a lime?

Me: Um…is for make like this.  [I pantomime filing my nail.]

Saleslady: Ah–you want a lime.  Long, or short?

…and, I go home embarrassed, but with a brand-new nail file.

  • la lime: file.
  • limer: to file, file down; to sand, sand down.  Also: to screw, to boink.
  • la lime, la lime à ongles: nail file.

Definitions from WordReference.com.

3 thoughts on “I broke a nail”

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