Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The little Skoda acting up again. This time I grab a photo of the dashboard display. Now the mechanics can't claim this is all a figment of my imagination. '' We're busy mate. Can you come back tomorrow ? ". The answer to this question is a forceful ' No ! '
A morning spent in the dealerships waiting room. Why are waiting rooms always draughty ? Why do they always have dog eared copies of magazines that no one in their right mind would want to read ? Six month old editions of the Steel Framed Structures Gazette and the Milk Distributors Weekly . A coffee machine that only takes 1€ coins. Not much help if you don't have any change.
" You were right mate. We've had it up on the ramp. There is a problem " says a man in grey overalls who sniffs continually. A description of something technical and incomprehensible in rapid fire French. Tip #1 for dealing with French mechanics - If in doubt nod your head and frown.This way you might not look like a total imbecile.You can also say ' ooh la la ' every thirty seconds or so to show your total command of the technical details .
The mechanics wave as they leave for the inviolable two hour French lunch break. The receptionist , unsmilingly, hands over the keys to a courtesy car. A tiny Volkswagen ' Up ! '. Completely black on the inside. The only decoration a strip of shiney plastic running across the dashboard. This looks just like black lacquer . The world of automotive plastics must be an invigorating place.
After lunch another stint in the waiting room.The receptionist asks me if I've damaged the courtesy car. Disbelieving, she goes off to check. Is this what purgatory is like ? Home at five thirty. '' I hope you didn't scare them with your grizzly bear routine " says ' the font ' opening the oven to let a cloud of steam escape.