“Mon Dieu! Vite, attrape-le avant qu’il ne s’échappe!”
I didn’t understand what she said; but, I knew what she meant, and, after yelling “sorry!” I turned and quickly chased after the frantically fleeing goose, passing through the pedestrian crowd that parted before us, the goose honk, honk, honking like a deranged cabby hammering his horn.
I dove for the goose and wrestled it down just before it took flight. The owner came and stood over me, speaking excitedly at me in French that I likewise didn’t understand until she said, “Merci, merci,” and bent over to retrieve her goose, which I readily surrendered.
I stood up, brushed off my pants, and asked, “Tu parles anglais?” which is about the extent of my French even though I had been in Paris for a week. She was very pretty. Petite. She said, “Oui,” and then began to walk away, scolding her wayward goose with a tap on its bill.
“Pardonnez moi,” I said, which is the remainder of my French vocabulary. “But, what are you doing with a goose on the Champs-Elysees?” She looked at me as if that was a silly question. “I am going to my work,” she said. “With a goose?” I was mildly incredulous. “Il est un goose thérapie,” she said with pique.
I was surprised and really curious, and I proceeded to accompany her down the avenue, ignoring the gawkers. She didn’t seem to mind. In fact, after her pique, she smiled at me coquettishly. “What kind of work do you do?” I asked. “I am a psychotherapist,” she said with a flirtatious twinkle, “et tu?”
“Wait,” I said, “you are a psychotherapist. Oh, I get it. You have a therapy goose for your work with your patients?” “Mais non,” she said. “The goose is mine. It helps me avec les angoisse…my anxieties.” “Oh,” I said. “What do your patients think of that?” “I only have one patient, actually une cliente,” she said, “Dr. Marie.”
“Dr. Marie? A doctor is your only patient, I mean, client? What kind of doctor is she?” I asked. “Oh,” she said, “Dr. Marie is a psychiatrist.” “Hold on,” I said. “Do I have this right? You are a psychotherapist, who has a psychiatrist as a client, and you have a therapy goose to help you with your anxieties. Is that right?” “Mais oui,” she said dismissively.
I shook my head and said to myself, “only the French.” I think that she knew what I was thinking, and she said, “Don’t your American psychotherapists have therapy geese?” “Uh, not that I’m aware of,” I said. “I mean, geese? Maybe a dog. I don’t know. It seems a bit strange for a psychotherapist to have a therapy animal of any kind. But, a goose, I would be afraid that my patients, uh clients, would think that I was a quack.”
I started to laugh, but it was clear that she didn’t think that my joke was very funny, it being made at the expense of her goose. “Au revoir, monsieur,” she said indignantly as she hurried her pace to escape me.
Really though, that was a good one, huh? And, she had a psychiatrist for a client! It just goes to show that psychiatry ain’t all that it’s quacked up to be. Heh, heh. I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.
And think, this whole thing started with a bump, or as Inspector Clouseau would say, “a boomp.” Le choc. Excusez-moi.