So after my personal vent, here is something a little lighter: another case in this city where I make a huge, hilarious fool out of myself.
Right now in France there is a transport strike. Apparently it is monumental and according to many native Parisiennes I am lucky to be witness to this occasion. This strike is an absolute pain in the you-know-what. However it is interesting how the world gets a little tint of rose in it when small events are compared to the greater schema of things and we truly can find some good in even the most frustrating of situations.
The strike in paris has resulted in a great decrease in the number of buses and metros that run at any given time in the city; some bus lines running 1 bus on 4, such was the case of the 46 bus that I happened to be needing to take to and from Gare de l’Est the other day.
One of the interesting and exciting parts of taking the bus is finding the bus stop itself ( I say that with a very large dose of sarcasm) which logically on a two-way street the bus stop going the opposite way is situated on the opposed side if the street within eyeshot of the one that you accidentally find yourself at. However this is not true in all cases where the stop my be situated a good 15 minutes down the route.
With a minimum of 45 minutes between buses on this particular day it was essential that I catch the first bus that came by. As I walked out of the Gare I saw the lime-green panel of the 46 streak by. I quickly ran to the other side of the street expecting to find the stop; only to see that the bus was quickly passing me by. Suddenly I realized that in order to catch this bus I was going to have to run ahead to the next stop. The problem in this being I had no clue where that stop was. The bus was trapped in traffic and so I made a mad dash in front of it in order to get a head start but as soon as I was even with the nose of the rolling box, traffic would come alive and the bus continued on. I would lose hope and comite to the idea that I was walking home and then would see the bus trapped in line again, I would regain hope and dash after it again. Some moments I would gain some length on the bus but I would quickly remember that I had no clue where to find the stop and was forced to backtrack and find the bus again. Stop: run after the bus go: resolve to walking home. This went on for a good 20 minutes or so when FINALY. I spotted the stop a block ahead of me. I made a mad dash to the bench making it there with one minute to spare. I tried to catch my breath, recompose myself before getting on the bus. As I climbed on board, feeling triumphant and relieved I said “bonsoir” to the driver and he laughed to himself. As I turned to face into the belly of the bus the other passengers started to clap for me. Apparently a young girl in a bright yellow scarf and a pair of very large, very white headphones, does not run after a bus unnoticed. They had all been watching me chase after the bus and apparently they had all been cheering me on.
I walked to the back of the bus and found a spot. My eyes met with an African man whose enormous white smile warmed me. I looked at him, smiled in return and said “you saw that huh?”
The situation was awful, the reason that we found ourselves there was frustrating. But I really think my desperation to catch that bus may have given those people a good giggle and that is a good thing when everything is in a solid state of stress.
oh my adventures with public transportation.
To think before I moved here I had never ridden on a train or a public bus before in my life and now I do it every day.