B-Town Undercover: Daydreams Suffice “Juste Parfait”

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by Shawn Underwood

Joe, my undercover Money Manager advises:

“The number one non-necessity item that people are cutting back on in these economic hard times is vacations.”


But hey, let’s look on the bright side…who needs a respite from the stress of the current gloom and doom financial forecast when real relief is right here in our own backyard?

At least once a week, I travel to France. Yes, you read that right – once a week, I go to the land of “mais, oui monsieur” right here in B-Town central. Nirvana waits at my local Key Bank Automated Teller Machine. And, no, I am not desperate enough for some vacation monies to rob the bank.

As I slip my well-used magnetically encoded bankcard into the “insta-poor” machine, the money dispenser reads: “What language do you speak?” Feeling somewhat daring and oh-so-continental I opt for French – not too much of a stretch since I have the cash machine buttons memorized.

A brief adrenaline rush jolts through my body as I read (more like look for familiar pictures or symbols) the Francoise language that appears on the screen. Confidence, self-esteem, and a jaunty aire suddenly posses me. I stand a bit taller and wish I were wearing something other than sweats – the Europeans don’t wander around in their son’s tattered cast-offs. I then wonder if Yummy Tummy malks berets that make your head seem slimmer…

Memories of fresh tantalizing mouth-watering baguettes taunt my senses. An impatient “ahem” escapes from the harried fellow behind me.

After my two-second day dream, I realize the machine is beeping at me, and the crisply dressed dromedary-shaped fellow glares at me. Taking my time to review my receipt from the kiosk computer with the touch pad screen (fancy foreign word for ATM), I saunter over to my cube on wheels. Camel guy is incensed with my dawdling; l’idiot obviously has no imagination!

Feeling confident from my imaginary trip to Nice, France, on the Cote D’Azur, I programmed the destination on my Blackbird navigation system in Francois: destination–ma maison naturellement.

“Tournez a`gauche dans un mille” emanates from the speaker of my Honda Element. Gauche? What a strange word for left, as I try to assimilate this into my singular language thinking, the uppity French lady (she sounds uppity, honest!) instructs me to turn around.

Pardon moi parking job, but I ees French!

“Tournez autour.”

No please or thank you as I follow her directions. Just “Tournez autour.”

I turn off the navigation system and switch to the radio, hoping she will find another satellite to haunt.  After all, I do know my way home and she is just plain rude. Dory Monson on 710 AM is rudely interrupted after just a few minutes by “Madam Destination Explanation”:  “Tournez autour.”

In a few short minutes my magical French mystery tour turns into sour French milk, the hard crust of the baguette now just a stale memory. Mademoiselle Navigation will not be ignored until I arrive at my destination her way.

De chien!

I may as well have the direction-Nazi (spousal unit of course) as my co-pilot, because at least I can shout back at him, c’ept not in Deutsch.

Twenty-five years of living in Burien gives Humorist Shawn Underwood much fodder for her writings.

All of her stories are true, or at least have a grain of truth with no added embellishments.

Or something like that.

Read more of her humor at her website here.

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