“I’ve just lost my wife,” I tell a shop assistant, when he asks how he can help.
“I’m really sorry to hear that,” he says, pretending to be sympathetic. “My condolences, sir.”
“No, no,” I stammer. “You don’t understand. I’ve just lost my wife – a half-hour ago, in this bookshop.”
Just then I spot Suree, browsing through local recipes in the food section.
“It’s okay,” I exclaim. “There she is. I see her now.”
By now the shop assistant is looking seriously alarmed. “Sir,” he says, as if speaking to a very small child, “That is not your wife.”
He is blocking my path, deciding I’m definitely deranged. “There’s nobody there, sir. She’s not there. There’s only a Chinese woman reading a book.”
I hope people enjoy this kind of anecdote, because I'm working on compiling a whole series of them. Something similar to At Home on The Mekong, but more focused on the humorous (if only in retrospect) miscommunications that arise in a world-spanning marriage.
Also, what is it with Cambodians and food?