In which I discover the French for clutch cable
It was incredibly windy yesterday. The drive from Narbonne to Perpignan was a battle with the car. Every windsock that I passed was stiffly horizontal. You know you’re in a windy area when there are windsocks on the side of the auto route and warning signs telling people towing caravans and trailers to be careful.
If anything it was windier in La Jonquiera than it was around Perpignan. Too windy to sit outside and read but nice enough that I didn’t want to sit in the car.
Me and my Shadow
At about 3.30 I went back into the gas station (petrol station) to ask if she had heard anything from her colleague or from the mechanic. "no" she said "it means that he isn’t working." She thought for a minute and then started rifling through the address book, found the number she wanted, picked up the phone and dialed. someone answered. Progress!
We began a three-way conversation.
– Who is your insurance company?
– pause for consultation with the person on the other end of the line –
– Call the assistance number and then they will call him (I assume the person she was talking to ) and he can send the truck to tow you back to France.
– I don’t have assistance
-pause for more consultation –
– Ask him if he can please come anyway. If he can’t fix it he can tow me back to France and I’ll pay him.
– more consultation and then she hangs up –
– he’ll be here in 5 or 10 minutes
I thank her profusely – she’s my new best friend and I don’t want to upset her – and head back outside to wait.
Near the car I notice two men laden with boxes of booze heading to a car with French license plates. They can tell me the word for clutch cable. After a bit of confusion because they thought I wanted to know the word in Spanish, they told me. The French for clutch cable is cable d’embrayage!
Who has seen the wind?
It was getting windier. The wind was so strong that people were leaning into ti and still couldn’t walk. They had to wait for lulls in the gusts. One of the aluminum strips ripped off the underside of the canopy above the gas pumps and flew spinning through the air. The whole canopy was swaying.
My best friend the manager took this as a signal to close the pumps. I took it as a signal to get back inside the convenience store. I watched the manager and the other woman working at the station deploying stanchions and roping off the pumps.
I looked at my watch. It was now 4 pm. I had been in La Jonquiera for 90 minutes and all I had accomplished was learning the French for clutch cable – cable d’embrayage. (I figure if I write it enough times I’ll remember it). The tow-truck man’s 5 or 10 minutes had turned into 75 minutes and counting. Manaña was looking like it would be the day after manaña. Time to try another approach.