Wordless Wednesday

Spoiler: This post is not wordless (or posted on Wednesday. Oops. I’m a day late hitting the “publish” button).

I’ve been intending to do an actual Wordless Wednesday–a Wednesday on which I publish a post that consists of only a picture, or perhaps a series of pictures, and no words. The pictures would be profound, beautifully framed to their subjects, perhaps deeply moving. And if “a picture is worth a thousand words”, then WW would be worth twice as much as my normal posts (roughly)! What a deal!

But I haven’t done Wordless Wednesday, because Wednesdays are terrifying, and I thought you might like to know why you weren’t getting very worthy picture posts with true-to-day titles.

It all starts with this sign:

This sign is a great sign. I generally (read: approximately 167 hours/week) love this sign. It allows me to park in front of my apartment for free. It’s a great sign. But sometimes (read: 1 hour a week) this sign really scares me, because it forces me to go somewhere in the city in my car.

“Mercredi” means “Wednesday”, and the numbers tell me when street cleaning will be happening, which is when my car has to be moved. This doesn’t sound like a huge deal, because 2-3 every Wednesday sounds like a great time to run errands, do grocery shopping, or generally go for a nice, quiet, peaceful drive around the city, no?

No.

Perhaps I should mention that I tend to be a bit of a nervous driver anyway. I like to think I’m safe, and I know I’m cautious. People generally feel safe driving with me (or so they say). The cats didn’t complain.  But even if my actions steer the car with some degree of proficiency, driving has a tendency to keep me on my toes (as it should, no? I feel like anxiety when driving a multi-ton vehicle at high speeds with other multi-ton vehicles is not unfounded). Driving in unfamiliar locations does not help this–driving in unfamiliar locations, with roadsigns that give little notice to exits or turns, in a land where there are 2-3 kinds of green lights (I can never get a straight answer on what a forward green arrow means. Can you turn right?)–I’m in tears before I even begin to look for a parking spot (which can be anxiety-inducing all on its own).

WHAT DOES THAT ARROW MEAN???

Nonetheless, out I venture, because I don’t want the city of Montreal to think I’m a bad person and give me a ticket/tow my car. I generally go out to run very short errands–last week I went to Au But, which is a bulk grocer, and the week before that I went to Ikea for a kitchen scale. This week I went to the Salvation Army, because I am going crazy without a cake pan in the kitchen. None of these places are far, and luckily all require some amount of highway driving (which I’m far more comfortable with than neighborhood driving, which contains intersections and pedestrians). On a good day, I leave the apartment minutes before street cleaning starts and return seconds after it finishes–handily grabbing the best parking spot on the street, and winning the privilege of parking without having to wedge myself between two cars who where already there.

On a bad day (today), I wake up overwhelmed about what errands I can possibly make up to get out of the house today (since my Au But trip we don’t really need anything, except that cake pan), spend way too much time mapping out the route to get there, look up Canadian traffic laws one more time, verify that my Triple-A card, drivers licence, and Canadian insurance documents are indeed in my possession, and count down the minutes until I can go–it’d be a tragedy to leave to early and then have to find a way to kill time during my Hour of Banishment. Inexplicably, on days that anxiety-ridden, I barely scrape out of my parking space in time to avoid a ticket. Driving to my flimsy/unnecessary/made-up errand location is made easier by Juliette (who is Bethany, my GPS, when she speaks French, which she currently does), but even Juliette cannot teach me what that silly forward green arrow means, or find me a parking space that isn’t illegal. After dashing into stores to speak English in what is clearly a French province, I dash back to my car, breath multiple sighs of relief when I notice I haven’t been ticketed, dash home and yell “sacrebleu!” when I discover that because parking has been allowed on the street for 20 whole minutes already, every spot is taken. I park 4 blocks away, walk inside the apartment, breathe a sign of relief, and utter more American (and modern) profanities when I discover that I was supposed to post a blog post this morning (when I was looking up directions to places I don’t really need to go). Still frantic from the terror of lane-less, sign-less driving, I rapidly flick through my photos from the last week, and discover nothing of note.

And then I post this.

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