Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Thursday 28 January 2010

Master of the garage

Me, posing on the scooter outside of the restaurant last night. Here, my kickstand is down and the backdrop isn't the garage (as it was for my lesson), but this is the basic idea of my first drive.

Last night, the Professor came home with a diagram he'd drawn, describing the basics of riding a scooter or bike. We went over it and then we unlocked the scooter and took it out in the garage -- it's a big one, with little garage doors inside that belong to the various residents.

At first, I wanted him to drive it so I could see how it worked, but he wanted me to know all of the buttons and wanted me to try it out myself.

The Professor grew up driving bikes in France; I grew up driving motorboats in Muskoka.

The concept, I discovered, is basically the same. Throttle, choke, ignition, warm-up etc. Except that a motorboat doesn't fall over if you forget to put your feet down. So, this being my biggest fear, I refused to even pull my feet up on the scooter and just held them out to the sides where they wouldn't scrape the asphalt.

There's a kick to the scooter to get it going. If you turn up the speed, it doesn't move at first, but then it GOES. I drove back and forth in the garage a few times and then handed the bike over to the Professor who drove us to dinner at "Au Moulin Enchanté," a tiny little restaurant in Nice with delicious food.

On the way there, I watched his driving and decided that I'm going to hate both changing lanes and going around corners (you have to do this on an angle).

We sat at the back of the restaurant and started with a champagne apéritif to celebrate the fact that we were together and I was back in France. Then we ate duck and scallops and drank wine. The waiters spoke to me in English, which was nice, but I continued to speak to them in French. (

At the restaurant, the Professor talked about getting me to drive the scooter outside of the garage. So I talked about making him get a boating licence so we could spend part of the summer with me in Muskoka.

I may not have all my French skills yet, but he doesn't have all of his Canadian ones either. I'll get this scooter thing down... but then I think it would be great if we could switch roles for a bit. Always having to be the student is hard.


  1. A very cool picture of you with your scooter!


  2. I was showing off my driving position -- legs out to the sides, face tough, but terrified.

  3. Let us know how your weekend tour goes!

    I'm going snowshoeing next Saturday!