I’m not sure who I want to beat with a stick until they’re dead, the province of Nova Scotia or the French version of the Department of Motor Vehicles. At this point either will do. When I left the homeland to seek fame and fortune in a medieval French town, I boarded the plane safe in the knowledge that no detail had been overlooked. I knew that I had done everything in my power to secure a smooth transition. And so begins the cautionary tale …

Ages ago we each applied for a permis de conduire, otherwise known as a driver’s license. Of course we knew that France and Canada have an agreement to exchange licenses. Then we each received a registered letter informing us that Nova Scotia is the only Atlantic province that was not part of the agreement. That we didn’t know. Neil’s letter said (in bold print) that he was no longer able to drive legally in France. Very bad news for those of us who enjoy the privilege of being shuttled around. My letter offered me a few more months behind the wheel but the bottom line was the same. Ze French do not want us on ze road.

Apparently we have to pass a famously difficult ‘theory’ exam. In French. A test that is intentionally worded to be tricky. Even the French have significant problems with it. I looked at a sample test and stopped as I almost fell into a coma when a question asked me to recite the required maintenance schedule of commercial vans. Then there’s the practical exam that must be taken in one of those special instructor cars. And of course they are all standards. I don’t know how many of you remember but I tried this already and everyone involved agreed that I should never be allowed to operate a stick shift. Merde.

The thing that reduced us both to profanity laden tantrums was that we once both had permits from other provinces that would be acceptable. Then we hit upon a genius plan (so you know it came from me). We’d go back to Canada, exchange our useless licenses for ones that the French will accept. This is exactly how STUPID this is because all Canadian licenses are interchangeable. But even if we went through all that trouble French law requires exchangeable licenses be held for at least 6 months prior to immigration. So unless I can unlock the secret of time travel I can’t make that work. I’m too annoyed to even write out all the swear words here, just add your own.

Hear me now, there’s no way I’m doing that test. It’s a matter of principle. Okay it’s a matter of knowing I’ll fail and then have to find a way to hire a chauffeur but still. So here’s the next genius plan, hat in hand to the mayor to make our case. We have two months to contest this nonsense. We’re just going to lay out the logic for them. If that doesn’t work we’ll lay out the tears and threats of packing our bags and huffing off back to Canada or to some other country that shows us the respect we deserve.

I’m not worried. In fact I’m quite sure that they’ll defy international treaties just to keep an unemployed, rickety-spined, non French speaking giraffe within their borders. But just in case, Mom, there must be a patron saint of drivers, right? I know, I know, 15 years of Catholic school wasted. Put in a good word or light a candle or something will ya? My friggin’ nerves are gone.

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