Tuesday, February 04, 2014


Désolé, la page que vous demandes est introuvable.
The Internet, in French

Doesn’t that sound better in French? Or more sincere anyway; like the page you were trying to  find in French is lost in some bleak wilderness and they’re beyond being sorry, they’re positively desolated they can’t find it for you. 

While I always admire sincere apologies, I’m kind of an expert in fake apologies. I have always been fond of apologizing by saying “I can’t tell you how sorry I am”.  Or “I couldn’t be sorrier”. But I recently heard that somebody topped that a while back. It turns out Rob Blagojevich said, when he was caught and/or convicted that he was “unbelievably sorry”.  Which I imagine he was about being caught. He was probably desolated about being convicted.

So, not to make a handbrake turn to segue, but I’m beginning to feel desolated about my car disrespecting me. It’s been nagging me for a while with this “MAINT REQD” light that is annoying for several reasons. First, it’s in caps, so it’s shouting at me. Second, it can’t be bothered to spell out the entire message so it’s lazy. For some reason being shouted about by something lazy is particularly annoying. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I’m unbelievably desolated by the rudeness involved here. Besides you wanker, I made the damn appointment with the dealer for service, so you can stop shouting at me. It’s tomorrow.

Then, in the past few days, I’ve developed another theory about this enigmatic message. Perhaps I’ve been too quick to judge my Prius. Perhaps the dashboard light is trying to send me another message entirely. Maybe it’s trying to hint in it’s deferential way that it’s ME that requires maintenance. 

But this surely is not news to me, my old Toyota friend.

It’s not like I don’t already know I’m kind of high maintenance. It has also not escaped my attention that I’ve got a backlog of what we used to genteelly call “deferred maintenance” when we didn’t have a budget to get that slow leaky faucet fixed or the termite inspection done. I need a haircut. I need to exfoliate the heels of my feet. I need, well, let’s not get too far down this road because I might want to stop being a hermit and make friends again someday and I don’t want it out there on the internets about how long it’s been since I had my cholesterol checked. The Toyota may be right to say this in CAPS after all. I have been wearing those ratty t-shirts when I take the dog to the dog park and I’m sure the dashboard can see the holes, the stains and the places where the shoulder seams are coming undone. O dear. I do require maintenance.

So tomorrow, after I leave the dealership and the dashboard is no longer shouting at me, maybe I’ll make an appointment with the hairdresser. Then, I’ll apologize to the dashboard. Je suis désolé, unbelievably désolé.  I doubt if the stupid car can speak French anyway.

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