Friday, September 19, 2008

Pas Prudent!

When Jube and I were still living in Montpellier, we used our bikes to travel everywhere. We used the bus lanes instead of the sidewalks, and once an old lady yelled at us as we were crossing her path, "Pas prudent! Pas prudent!"* We now say this whenever someone tells us that we should be more careful, or that something we did was stupid... for example, one of my new colleagues told me that she had never used the public bus in her entire life. "You just couldn't use the bus in Hampton Roads," she said, "it was too dangerous!" Jube and I used the HR Public Transit system often before we bought our car, and I'm sure we would have looked at each other and hissed, "Pas prudent!" at this announcement.

Anyway, we had a pas prudent moment in July, when I'd picked him up at the airport and was driving him back to Norfolk. We took Route 17 to 95 to 64, and it took about an hour on each of these roads. As we were entering 95 from 17, we noticed a blond surfer-looking dude at the side of the road with a sign that said "Virginia Beach." We chuckled for a moment that he would never find a ride down there, and then we both said, "Why don't we give him a ride?"

I've never hitchhiked or picked up a hitchhiker, but Jube has done both in France. So we pulled over and two blondies crammed themselves into the back of our little car. It turned out that they were Russians, in the US on summer J-1 (working holiday) visas, and had traveled all around the US by Greyhound. They were finally out of money and had resorted to hitchhiking.

They were very well mannered young men from Siberia, and my only problem with them was that they kept talking. I had been ready for a nap, but unfortunately I let slip that I knew quite a bit about immigration processes, and they kept asking me for information about their visas.

By the time we arrived in Norfolk, we didn't want to drive all the way to Virginia Beach, so we dropped them off downtown outside of the library. They gave us a nu-metal CD (I had unwisely told them that Jube liked heavy metal) and their gratitude.

Whenever I tell anyone about our hitchhiking adventure, they all say the same thing. "I can't believe you picked up hitchhikers! That's so dangerous!"

Jube and I catch each other's eye, and we both think the same thing. "Pas prudent!"

*Not careful!

1 comment:

Brooke said...

I've picked up hitchhikers before, but never when I'm by myself. (correction: I've given rides to women alone when I was by myself.) It's as if I feel that having someone with me is my surety against 'bad stuff' happening. And I like helping out someone in need; you never know when that might be you. (Because obviously, if *no one* ever gave folks lifts because of the 'danger', then some time when you might need one you'd be out of luck.)