Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election cake

In our corner of Connecticut, election cake has evolved into a PTA-sponsored bake sale at the local elementary school where we vote. This sale has a reputation to uphold, and so a lot of the baked goods are not homemade but are, instead, purchased from (or perhaps donated by) bakeries.

This morning I skipped my usual breakfast at home, in anticipation of buying breakfast at the polling place. I spied a large assortment of bagels and, bagel provenance being of some importance to me, I asked where they were from. “Autobahn pane” was the answer. I took this to be the speaker’s best rendition of “Au Bon Pain” [“oh bawn panh” is the best I can do in rendering the French pronunciation for people who never took French; those who did will have to forgive me for that transcription] and found something different to eat.

I mentioned the “autobahn pane” to my wife, who had not overheard it; this reminded her of a local hospital where the coffeeshop concessionnaire is Au Bon Pain. What happens when a distraught family (one unfamiliar with French pronunciation) walks into the hospital to visit a sick relative and encounters a coffee shop that uses the word pain in its name?

Words matter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That Au Bon Pain thing was funny. It looks like 'good pain' if you don't know the meaning.