Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mon ordure est gelée

I always enjoyed visits to my paternal grandmother. She was French, never weighed more than 100 pounds, and carried herself with great dignity and poise. But energy and passion was packed densely within that small frame, and whenever something angered her, she would revert to her native tongue, especially with my father. "Merde" was heard quite frequently, usually accompanied by wild hand gestures that required the flexibility of a yoga master. I am fairly certain she knew we understood at least the "bad" words but she was our grandmother, and one's dignity had be preserved!!.

My ride today took me north into a steady wind, and with the air temperature hovering at about 5 above, the wind chill was brisk. Any male cyclist who rides through the winter knows that keeping certain parts one's anatomy warm is, uh, critical. I was starting to feel a great deal of discomfort and being a long way from home, knew I needed to correct the problem. To take my mind off the growing pain, I was running through as many French words as I could remember.

The first person I see on the trail is a very small, older woman walking her two dogs. She was covered from head to toe, and only her eyes peered out from the scarf wrapped around her head. I did notice a few plastic bags tied to her leash so I stopped and said hello. After a brief conversation about her dogs and the weather, I asked if she could kindly spare one of her plastic bags.

After looking around, apparently assuming I had a dog hidden somewhere , she lowered the scarf from over her mouth.

"But you don't have a dog. Why do you need a bag?"

Now, if I was say Jay Leno, a quick and witty response would have flowed from my mouth. The best I could do was smile.

"Oh, Oh! That must be quite painful. Here, please, take one", she replied, the light bulb over her head burning brightly.

I thanked her, she smiled and we parted ways.

Oh, and if you're wondering what the title of the post means, the picture should help you figure it out.



  1. Nice. Hopefully she posted the counter-story on her blog this evening. Or at least told her neighbor about it.