la bagnole (ban-yol)
: car; ride, set of wheels
A Day in a FRENCH Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Last Sunday I hid in our bathroom as our guests collected their purses and coats. "I'll be right back," I said, promising to meet up again in the parking lot, where we were about to drive to the beach.
Hightailing it to the loo, I locked the door and sat down to collect my thoughts. This particular W.C. is hidden behind another "guest" restroom--the one I keep as tidy as possible in spite the crackling paint. But all my efforts to conceal the parts of our life that are not up to snuff were about to crumble like the paint next door....
As I sat on the throne of our hidden W.C., my guest's words echoed in my mind: "We'll need to take your car."
My car? But my car was worse than a mess! Sticky with after-school snacks, it attracted dust, parking receipts and dog hair (heavier items--such as books--collected on the floor). This accumulation of horrors is my secret shame, and it was about to come waltzing out of the closet with a toothless grin on its face. Like drunken kin who show up to the party unbidden, so was I at heart: undisciplined.
But no, it isn't true. Just because my car is a mess doesn't mean that I'm one too! And so went my reasoning as I sat on the pot, in the dark--the light-bulb having burst weeks ago.
And then another light went off.... It occurred to me that if I sat there long enough things might work themselves out on their own! I leaned forward, putting my ear to the bathroom door. I could hear Jean-Marc chatting with our guests. Knowing my husband, he was busy redirecting everyone towards the other bagnole--our guest's car. I needed only to wait out the crisis a little longer--then appear in time to dive into someone else's back seat, in time to avoid humiliation.
Alas, when I exited the petit coin I was surprised to discover one of our guests getting into my car! At that point I was left with one all-consoling thought:
Character. Remember. It is what you most admire in others. So why not begin to appreciate it in yourself?
Shifting the car in reverse, I heard the familiar jingling. Besides dust, who else has a sheep bell tied to their gear stick? I smiled at my graceful passenger and we both laughed as my car lurched out of the driveway, jingling all the way to the shimmering blue sea.
* * *
w.c. = water closet, toilet
la bagnole = car
le petit coin = powder room
Had a wonderful time at our meetup yesterday, meeting a handful of delightful readers. Will have more photos and a story for you soon! Beside me, in dark blue, is Najima, who, along with husband Frédéric, run this delicious crêperie in the port of Madrague (near St. Cyr sur Mer).
See another cool French bagnole in the post "Where to Rent a Car in France"
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety