Lagniappe in Suspension

A few years ago, my wife introduced me to a term I’d probably heard before, but did not quite understand: amuse-bouche. She introduced the term to me as we sat in a Mexican restaurant and were served a very nice snack before we had even seen the menu.  It was a first for me; well, a first in a Mexican restaurant.

When I learned the phrase for that little surprise, a term that referred to a complimentary bite-sized hors d’œuvre, I equated the phrase roughly with another term, lagniappe, which arose, as I understand it, from a Louisiana French bastardization of an American Spanish term, la ñapa. La ñapa is, like lagniappe, a little something extra or a bonus.

While amuse-bouche  is a term whose usage is, as far as I know, limited to food, I can imagine (rightly or wrongly) that lagniappe may have at one time (and perhaps still does) referred to precisely the same thing.  Considering that lagniappe is a term I always associate with New Orleans and, especially, with Mardi Gras, and considering Mardi Gras is a heavily focused on food and drink, it just makes sense.  But this is just supposition; I haven’t researched it and don’t plan to for the moment.

Now that the old pickup has gone on to greener pastures, I’m taking the Camry in to another garage this morning; I’m trying a different Toyota dealership.  I’m no longer quite as enamored as I once was with my trusted mechanic, because the clunking noises in the front end have never really been “fixed” despite the expenditure of a small boatload of money on the car.   I tried another Toyota dealer, figuring their mechanics have been trained to find and fix Toyota problems; after a quick test-drive, that dealership said I needed new parts that I just had replaced, PLUS I needed a bunch of other stuff…for only $4950, my front suspension would be as good as new!  Ha!

So, I’m trying another place.  I drop the beast off at 7:00 a.m. and they promise to give me a ride home.  It will be up to me to make my way back later in the day (or whenever it’s fixed). Fortunately, there’s  a bus route near my house that will  take me to within half a mile of the dealership, so getting back won’t be too much of a problem.  I just hope the Toyota mechanic doesn’t have any other “little extras” to tell me about, beyond the suspension issues.  And I hope to have the car fixed, once and for all, without laying out the cost of a late model replacement.

There are many words I could use to describe my experiences with auto mechanics of late, but amuse-bouche and lagniappe aren’t among them.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Language. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lagniappe in Suspension

  1. juan says:

    There’s always “little extras”! 😉

  2. Larry Zuckerman says:

    Interesting and amusing.

Don't just think about commenting. Do it!