My sister describes me as the opposite of a Francophile
But you see, it is simple. I’m about things being functional and France is all about form.
And this week was a "non functional" lesson in going postal.
Monday night – we came back from Vienna. Our plane is 35 minutes late. We have not checked any luggage so we walk right off of the plane. There is a sign that says “RER B replaced by a bus. Take replacement bus from CDG 3. Last bus 23h”
It is 5 minutes to 23h. We are in CDG 2.
Downstairs we go to see what happens when we try to buy tickets. It is possible the buses are late or it is their last run. I look around. The buses are nowhere. We check the regular city buses that go into the center of Paris, but they are also finished for the night. We check the “cars” buses run by other companies but they cost 20 euros each, one way, and also stop at 23h.
Taxi’s are 45euros. So since there are two of us, it is roughly the same price. So we take a taxi.
The freeway around Paris at our exit is closed. We have to drive 15 extra minutes through a city outside of Paris to get into Paris to our place. The taxi driver doesn’t take credit cards so we have to stop at a bank.
Tuesday – I take metro line 13 (nightmare) to line 14. Line 14 is my dream – completely automated and always functioning. Except today. When the metro suddenly stops. I watch the poor woman across from me (50ish, well-dressed), catapult across the floor, high heels fly off. (similar to my experience in the bus, except as a good French woman, she is not eating - so less tomato on the floor). We get stuck in the dark in between two stops for 10 minutes.
Friday – I go in the early morning (this means 9) to the American shops to pick up cranberry sauce and pie crusts. As previously indicated – to do this I wait for 2 sardine-style packed metros before I finally forcibly back into the person who, 10 seconds earlier, was smashed up against the window. And now I pray - that the door will shut behind me, with me smashed up against the window, but in the metro.
I have only 4 stops to go. We stop 3 additional times to regulate traffic flow.
Friday Evening – I must leave for our train 3 hours early so I can go back to the store (45 minutes from our place) that I was at early in the morning that no longer sells cranberry sauce, but does sell fresh cranberries – and unlike the previous year – is the only place in town to do so (after checking 6 other stores along the way home). I buy my cranberries, turn around and go right to the train station. I arrive 40 minutes early. It is Friday at 6pm and a mad house. The train departing at 18h48 is on the flipboard with no quai but listed as “on time”. The quai number lights up 10 minutes before departure(normally it is 20 minutes before). We get on a completely dark train – the doors are open, but there are no lights and no personel to say why there are no lights on. We wait nervously. (There is no connecting train if we are late). I send B out to check. At 19h our train is “deleted” on the board (no explanation, no announcement). There is another train in 5 minutes. He has to get back to me, load our stuff up, go up the quai and then back down another quai onto an already full train. We are RUNNING with 2 rolling bags, 2 backpacks and a shopping bag full of cooking supplies and cranberries. This is not comical. This is not Home Alone. This is almost missing a train and running at full speed in order to spoon people on the bus like I get to on the metro because the people for 2 trains are now on 1 train. + baggage. This is the road to going postal.
And then after 45 minutes of standing in the aisles with our bags – no excuses or apologies, but the automated “We hope you have had an agreeable voyage” announcement.
I want a gun.