Friday, July 04, 2008

Separated by a common language

We arrived in Portland, Maine, on the first leg of our trip, and checked the turn signal that had been clicking at double speed. Sure enough, one bulb in the front signal was out. The others, the main bulbs, were working, so if we couldn't replace it immediately we'd still be safe. We got a good night's sleep and boarded the ferry from Portland to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
While Husband was in Yarmouth looking up his family history, he stopped in at the local Pontiac dealer to inquire about a replacement bulb. He didn't bring his interpreter or a dictionary.
First, the mechanic on duty said he wasn't allowed to take apart an assembly like ours because it was very easy to break. Husband asked to buy the replacement part and install it himself, and the worker agreed and led him back to the parts department. The man on duty was new in the job and in the country; he had arrived just months earlier from London -- England, not Ontario. Between Husband's Midwestern twang and the Londoner's dialect was the Canadian mechanic as translator. The conversation went something like this.
"What part do you need?"
"A bulb."
Silence. "Oh, a lahmp."
Time spent looking over the diagram, discerning the proper part, noticing that there were two bulbs: a front-facing white bulb, and a side-facing amber.
"One lahmp or two?"
Silence, while Husband figures out it's not teatime, but time to purchase one item, be it lump, lahmp, or bulb.
"One, please."
He bought it, fixed the signal, and came 'home' to the cottage for supper.
Little did he know that finding the Pontiac dealer would be essential knowledge later on...stay tuned.


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Blogger Still Patrice said...

Well good thing it wasn't the actual head light! Curious as to why the pontiac dealership is important :)

7/04/2008 9:39 AM  

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