Rhum-rhum nights, aka Friday-night drinks, has become quite the regularly-scheduled event for Gui and I. We meet up with friends at Le Caveau des Oubliettes, aka The Guillotine, in the 5th arrondissement to fill-up on their Friday night specialty, the rhum-rhum (made famous by the ultra-famous duo, Katia & Kyliemac) and engage in interesting banter with other angolophones. It's something I think most everyone looks forward to from the start of Monday.
Last night was unlike any other rhum-rhum night. There were more people in town, and apparently a nerd-fest was going on that we weren't aware of and they decided to throw their after-party at the same time and place as our weekly rendezvous, but we still managed to grab tables and seats for everyone. As we were gathered around, discussing beer, travel plans and telling random stories, someone came from behind me and tapped my shoulder. I swung around my stool to see the grey-haired, coat-wearing, old man that's often lingering about the bar leering at our large and strange group.
He asked me if I spoke French, to which I replied, "un peu." He asked if someone could translate for me, and Katia's ever-so-kind husband was (thankfully) sitting just next and offered to translate. I could make out most of what he was saying until he said the word thyroïde. It doesn't sound much like the English version, and not expecting this guy to be having a health-related discussion with me, I could not for the life of me figure out what he was telling me. Katia's husband (we'll call him MM for short) didn't immediately know the word in English either, so we asked around the table until someone threw out the word "thyroid."
"He's saying that it looks like you have a problem with your thyroid," said MM.
Uh, ok. I didn't know whether to be offended, thankful, skeptical or creeped out. So, I asked him why he was telling me this.
"Mais, pourquoi est-ce que vous dites ça?"
"Est-ce que vous avez souvent très froide ou très chaude?"
I tried to figure out how to answer this. Sure, I was often cold when it was cold and hot when it was hot, but isn't that normal? I'm rarely ever very hot when no one else is. In fact, I'm almost always cold. But, being a pretty small person, anemia is something that my doctors regularly checked me for, and that always explained my cold tendencies. So, I told him that wasn't particularly true.
"Mais, en fait non."
I was still perplexed, though. And starting to get angry. "The audacity!" I thought. "Uh, typical old French, wanting to tell you something about yourself that they somehow know better than you."
"Quelles sont les caractéristiques de cette condition," I demanded.
He started telling me that he could tell from the shape of my face, from the features of my face, from my voice and the way that my throat was shaped that I had something wrong with my thyroid. He suggested that I look into seeing a specialist about it. Then, he stepped back, put his hands up and bowed, as if to say "that's all I can tell you." And, then, I'm pretty sure he apologized for giving me this horrific news. I told him thanks, that it was nice of him to be concerned and he left the table.
The creepiest part of this whole incident is that my family does have a history of thyroid problems. But, how in the world could he have known? Part of me thinks this guy is a weirdo who hangs around bars diagnosing people because maybe he misses his former life as a doctor...or something. And, part of me thinks that he really and truly somehow knew something about my health from just looking at me. But how? Is that even possible? Either way, I'm making an appointment to see my doctor after we get back from Christmas vacation because as creepy as that incident was, I like the idea of being safe rather than sorry.