Vehicular mans-laughter

Story one:

We’ve been thinking of buying a pickup. We’re always moving kids back and forth, we’re considering getting kayaks, and, besides, doesn’t everyone secretly want a pickup?

So I’ve been looking online, and by “online” I mean “lazily browsing Facebook,” where I came across something in our price range, i.e. cheap-ass and terrible. But the kayaks in back will look magnificent!

I sent the seller a message: “Is this still available?”

Some time passed. Then came the response: “Oui.”

Not exactly the hard sell. A couple of days went by as I continued my search. Eventually I wrote back: “C’est à Stanstead? On peut passer quand pour le voir?” [“It’s in Stanstead? When and where can I come by to see it?”]

I waited for the response: “Oui.”


“Ou et quand?” I asked. [“Where and when?”]

Two days went by. Two full days! And then:

“Quand tu veux.” [“Whenever you want.”]

I call this The Art of the No-Deal. If you can’t respond in a courteous, helpful way — in a way that suggests at least a glimmer of motivation to sell your product — I’m not buying. There are plenty other crap-bag trucks out there, merci beaucoup.

Next story:

On Monday, I was pumping gas at our local station. They are the slowest pumps on the planet. You can actually see the decimal points ticking by. On the plus side, it gives you lots of time to judge the other customers.

On the opposite pump island (“Pump Island,” coming soon to FOX!), I noticed a guy fussing around the partially opened sunroof of his car (make and model: 4 Wheel White). A gas station clerk walked over to him carrying a metal rod with an L-shaped prong on the end. “You might need this,” she said.

The dude (make and model: 2 Leg White) proceeded to stick the rod through the sunroof, trying to squeeze his hand through the opening. Locked his keys in the car, poor dude.

I was still pumping away (“previously on ‘Pump Island’…”) but thought to myself, “Finally, the reason I was born. This is my destiny — to at last put my skinny hands and wrists to good use by sliding them through the sunroof of a stranger’s locked car.”

There was no one waiting behind me, so I walked over and said in my best French, “My hands are on a diet,” or something to that effect. “I can try.”

This was my moment!

Alas, I overestimated my skinniness. So much for destiny.

Failing to reach the lock button from the sunroof, dude decided to try a different tack and out of nowhere produced a three-foot crowbar. Protecting the frame with a cloth, he wedged the crowbar into the top of the door and wrenched it forward, leaving a crack for the rod to slide through.

Now, my French comprehension is not the best. Ideally, for me to understand, you should speak French like a 19th century Parisian nobleman. This is not the case in Quebec and certainly not the case with our dude who, though I hate to be snobbish (liar), spoke French like a white dude with a white car wearing a white shirt with the sleeves cut off.

So to me, his comments sounded a lot like (in translation),“Crunch bar mini-fridge dopamine swing hut.”

Still, we managed to work together to angle the rod towards the button, sometimes him manoeuvring it, sometimes me. “The button: do I push or pull?” I asked. (“On the next episode of ‘Pump Island,’ things take a confusing turn…”)

The clerk, who was guiding us from the passenger-side window, said, “Try now! I think you got it!” (It was me. I’m sure I got it. Hero.) Dude yanked on the door and it popped open.

I looked at the frame where the crowbar had rubbed, a few scratches on the white. “Not too much sorry?” I said in French. “BarcaLounger fruit tip,” he replied.

My French is good enough, however, to recognize the simple word “merci” or even the phrase “merci, mon chum,” but unless my assumption about my new friend was wrong and he was speaking some antiquated French like a 17th century chevalier (“Soothe! Thou art ever thus correspondent of my profoundest gratitude, my slender-handed squire!”), I did not hear a single thanks or acknowledgement as I walked back to my car and drove off.

These seemingly unconnected stories have a couple of things in common. One: courtesy takes only the smallest of efforts; and two: I am easily put out. But soon I’ll be easily put out behind the wheel of a cheap-ass, crap-bag pickup, or as we say in French, une île de la pompe.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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11 Responses to Vehicular mans-laughter

  1. “La gratitude est le fruit d’une grande culture,vous ne le trouvez pas parmi les impolis.” A thousand thanks for presenting us with these narratives, I totally concur with your courageous stance, and fervently propose that every uncouth individual should be called out for such deplorable lapses in manners. And good luck finding un vieux camion décent, ou un véhicule utilitaire coupé, comme le El Camino, parfait éclair pour servir un Peugeot Panier de Déplorables, ou transporter de petites embarcations en plastique. Wow I also need to thank Gooble translate, this looks great in French.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Le mer est dans mes pantalons.

      • Well squire, one must maintain standards, even if those around you have abandoned even the most basic courtesies. I go ahead and say “You’re very welcome, I’m sure” which sometimes prompts a mumbled “yeah, uh, thanks,” or brings them to a 10-second mouth-open standstill while they process (while I get ahead of them in the checkout line).
        Thank you for the story, I enjoyed reading it, RPT

  2. says:

    I would like to say thank you for being a good guy and doing the right thing, regardless of others lack of manners. The world needs more of you to show others how easy it is to be gracious and kind.

  3. amandahoving says:

    I hear you on being easily put out when there is a lack of common courtesy. I’m the same way. You go ahead and judge the other customers all you want – you are definitely a hero! BTW, can’t wait for the premiere of “Pump Island”.

  4. beth says:

    you may even get your own pump island spin-off : l’isle de pumpe, the bachelor on pump island, pump island shore, the kardashians – pump island edition – the possibilities are endless.

  5. Gavin Keenan says:

    Some people can’t thank you enough, some people can’t thank you at all. Some people could use the dope slap of common courtesy. I leave the rest to your imagination.

  6. kirizar says:

    And now I know how to recognize “the island of the pump” in French. I wonder how many years I’ll have to wait for this to become useful!

    Either way, I loved your language approximation dictionary…BarcaLounger fruit tip to you too!

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