Last month, I witnessed a hit-and-run. No injuries - a car just backed into a parked motorcycle, totaled it and drove off. Three other people and I took down their license number before they got away. (Why do people think they can get away with anything anymore? Don't they know how many iPhones are out there?)
Because it was in front of my building, I volunteered to be the contact witness when the cops showed up. Ten minutes later when they arrived, I met them, dictionary in hand, to explain what happened. Turns out "accident" is the same word in French, pronounced differently.
Last week, I went to our apartment's basement and found a huge pool of water with a leak of considerable consequence from the pipes above.
I ran back upstairs and to call the superintendent. But first, I had to look up the words "leak," "hallway," "pipes," and "puddle." The superintendent was a little skeptical at first. I think he thought I was using the wrong words. But when I said, "Beaucoup d'eau," he got the idea.
I'd say my French is okay. Not really conversational. But at least I can order in a restaurant and report pipe leaks and non-injury hit-and-runs.