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

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

Friday 26 February 2010

The training wheels are off!

Yesterday I wrote in a fury as I got ready to ride the scooter downtown on my own. I had an appointment with the bank to open an account -- an errand, just like the other normal people who live here in Nice.

I was nervous when I left and had to stop the scooter just down the street from the house to make sure I hadn't forgotten any of the papers I needed for the bank. Then I wound my way down the mountain into the main part of the city, where I immediately got lost.

I pulled over on to the side of the road to look at a map and stopped the scooter at the opening to a little parking lot. There, I opened up my map and started to scan the buildings for a street name that would tell me where I'd stopped. No luck, but I was still calm and in control.

Then a truck drove up out of the parking lot and they motioned to me to move. I started to move the scooter, but the wind caught the map I had left sitting on the seat. In a moment of desperation, I tried to grab the map mid-air, which meant I dropped the scooter and shredded the map with my fingers at the same time. A young guy got out of the truck and then moved my scooter for me (out of their way) and they drove on.

So far, the pressure of doing all of this on my own had made my heart beat faster and had made me a little shaky. I'd even had to swear a bit in my helmet whenever something unexpected happened on the road just to calm myself down and make the experience more of a joke -- which had mostly worked. BUT, after dropping the bike and shredding my map EXACTLY where I thought I might be parked, I lost it for a moment.

But, just a moment. The truck then came back and the older guy who had been driving the truck rolled down the window to teach the younger guy a lesson. He asked me where I was going, if I needed help, if I was lost, if I was OK (all in French). I said, "Je ne sais pas le nom de cette rue," and smiled.

He told me where I was and it was STILL ON MY MAP! So they took off, and I turned left and drove straight to the bank, got my account, went to the grocery store, and finally became an adult again. Phew! Now I'm fine. I'm independent. And I'm free of my training wheels for good.

When I got back home, the Prof was just pulling in from work. I was ahead of him and acted as though it was nothing to have had the scooter out on my own. He said he was proud of me and gave me a hug. I know this sounds stupid, but my bravery just saved our relationship -- at least, saved it's future because I need this independence.

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