First post!

Ah, my first post. Exciting. As it happens I don’t have the time to write a new one right now actually (anti-climactic, I know), but here is an article I wrote for my magazine class. We were told to reconstruct a travel story, told to us by someone else in the class. My roommate Brittany and I exchanged interviews. Here’s what I wrote about a snippet of her trip through France and Spain with her parents.

Brittany, stylish as always. Photo by SJD, 2010

It wasn’t until the young Frenchman burst from a nearby door, arms waving above his head and yelling “Arrête! Arrête!,” that Brittany’s father admitted that a tactful retreat might be in order.

But the point at which graceful discretion was possible had passed.

Lost in the picturesque hills a half-hour from Nice, France, the trio (Brittany and her parents) had randomly driven into a small community, hoping to get directions to their remote country hotel.

Disregarding the big parking lot filled with cars just outside the walls of the village, they had entered the town. After winding around for a bit, the thinning road dipped steeply.

With a stellar driving record to his credit, Glenn stubbornly brushed aside his wife’s nervous comments as the walls enclosing the cobblestone street steadily narrowed. Brittany shrunk in the backseat as passing pedestrians peered curiously through the windshield.

By the time the screaming Frenchman appeared, a mere four inches of space separated the automobile on either side from a continuous line of two-story Parisian apartments. The man explained this was a pedestrian town – no cars allowed.

A three-point turn was out of the question. Ascension of the sheer grade behind them demanded a heavy foot, but the walls were so close that anything faster than a crawl risked damaging the rented car.

The smell of burning clutch filled Brittany’s nostrils as the tiny engine struggled. The three massive suitcases in the trunk – Brittany’s 5’2”, 100lb frame fit comfortably in each – didn’t help.  Just shy of 20 years old and single, her heart beat faster at the humiliating thought of asking suave, strapping Frenchmen to push them backwards up the hill.

Tension hung thick and palpable in the car like rainforest humidity. Glenn afforded a burst of speed, cresting the hill, but cracked off a side mirror in the process. It clattered to the road.

“Fuck. Fuck.”

It was the first time he’d ever hit anything.

Abandoning the boxy piece of plastic for the time being, the Mahaneys reversed all the way back to the now-clearly purposeful parking lot.

They eventually reached their hotel shortly after dark. It was lovely, with rabbits and goats grazing in nearby pastures. They practically had the place to themselves, save for a lone German man with an aversion to French drivers.

Glenn, who once worked as an auto shop mechanic, later reattached the severed appendage and glazed over the scratches with shoe polish.

Upon returning the car to the rental dealer, Glenn exited the inspection room with a giddy grin. The crude patch-job had gone unnoticed.

Brittany recalled walking with her father to retrieve the mirror. “You know Britt, this is one of those moments you’re going to remember.” They had doubled-over with laughter and he hooked an affectionate arm around her shoulder. They’d continued as such all the way back to the car, which would reek of blistered steel for the next 24 hours. And this time Brittany didn’t care who stared.

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