Thursday, October 17, 2013

metro happenings - metro mission

Before I start the story of the wild goose chase I went on to get to work a few mornings ago, I’ll admit that I shamelessly left my house later than usual.

I was happy to find a seat from the first stop and was on my merry way. Right? Wrong!

Three stops into my ride, the train started slowing down. The doors were staying open for a long time at each stop and then suddenly, it was over. Our train was stopped at a station for about ten minutes before any announcement was made – a technical problem was stopping us from moving forward. A few minutes later, it was a suspicious item a few stops ahead of us that required complete evacuation of the train. The conductor told us another train would follow shortly thereafter, leaving the platform overflowing with people huffing and puffing as they took out their phones to make the “I’ll be late to the office this morning call.” When I scrambled around inside my bag to find mine, I took it only to see it had died in my purse overnight.

A second train did indeed make its way to the station; it too, packed to the brim. Some of us squeezed in (days like these I’m happy to be small) and waited. And waited. And waited. About five minutes later, an announcement came on to let us know the line was being entirely evacuated and that alternate routes would need to be taken.

Enter about 300 people trying to make their way up to the surface to catch the bus or a free velib’. The bus stop, as one would imagine was spilling out over the sidewalk and onto the street. I looked up at the time table – three minutes till the next bus came rolling through. It was pretty full but I managed to jigger myself in the front door. The bus driver, with whom I would have shared a seat with if it weren’t for the barrier between the driver and the rest of the bus, got in a heated argument with an old lady as he tried to offer that as she wasn’t trying to get to work, she should wait for the next bus. She would have none of that and blocked the door from closing until he ceded and let her on the bus. One stop later, said old woman got off the bus and walked into a bakery – undoubtedly to buy the morning baguette most other people on that bus only have on the weekends.

Before the next stop, a game of telephone let the driver know that someone in the back of the bus had passed out. No kidding given the crazy number of humans jammed into about six meters of moving space. Bus evacuated.

Now standing on the corner of rue Monge and staring down at Paris towards the Seine, I was just about ready to give up, turn around and walk home.

Instead, I took another bus – empty as it wasn’t on said chaotic route – and took the metro at Odeon. Six smooth stops on line 4 and two on line 3 later, I got to the office. It was 10:30. The train I had wanted to take at 9:05 was still out of service. I was mad. I wanted to cry. I wanted to laugh. All I could think was – c’est la vie, c’est Paris!

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