I have some very dear friends that live about half an hour away (by car . . . over an hour by train) from me here in France. K had been in the hospital last week, but they invited me over for dinner Wednesday. As I arrived in the station, K's husband, D, told me that dinner had been cancelled, as he had to bring her back to the hospital. So after an evening with them learning a handful of French medical vocab, I promised to try to come back on Thursday after classes to see her. I went online and scouted out the route. It was easy: 319 bus to the TVM at Le Corde Chasse, TVM to the 104 at Eglise de Créteil, 104 stops right in front of the hospital. Pas de problème.
But my life is never smoothe (and if it was, this blog would be boring and you wouldn't be reading it anymore. Then again, based on the general lack of comments from my readers, not really sure anyone is reading!). First, the 319 bus stopped after 5 minutes and made us all get out. The driver switched the placard on the side of the bus and headed off the other way. Once back on the 319 I realized that I had forgotten my cell phone in my school bag. Oh, I'm just riding the bus, what could possible go wrong?? I'll be FINE! (as my mother always said: famous last words).
I had a lovely time with K . . . well it was lovely for me, she had to stay there when I left. But her room has a view of the Paris skyline . . . complete with the Eiffel Tower! They'd have paid an arm and a leg (and probably a kidney) for that view in a hotel! Anyway, I left there at 8pm. Waited 20 minutes outside the hospital (in the cold) for the 104 bus. 15 minute wait for the TVM, half hour ride to Le Corde Chasse to pick up the 319. It's now after 9.
At Le Corde Chasse, they have these fantastic scrolling marquees that show how long the wait is until the next bus comes. TVM: 3 min. TVM: 22 min. 87: 8 min. 87: 34 min. 158: 15 min. 158: 53 min. 294: 34 min. 319: bus terminé. Wait . . . what was that . . . 319: bus terminé. BUS TERMINÉ??? TERMINÉ?!?!?!? Yes, you don't have to open google translator for that one! 319: bus ended.
I checked the schedule posted. Sure enough, the 319 ends everyday at 8pm (except Sundays, but that's because it doesn't start on Sundays). Oh crap. Now what. Oh, I'll call Allison, she'll come get me. Hmm, don't have my phone. Plan B. I know, I'll call Sabrina . . . she has a car. Dummy, YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR PHONE! OH CRAP . . . NOW WHAT?!?!?!? Okay, Deb. don't panic, you can figure SOMETHING out. DO NOT PANIC. I started to pray.
Most of the bus stops in the Paris suburbs do not post the entire local bus map, only the specific routes for the lines at that stop. I had to say a quick Merci, Seigneur, because there on the wall of the bus stop was the entire area, including the RER B (my line on the regional train). It showed that the bus I had been on ended at an RER B station, but before getting there, the route continued off the page with a little down arrow, but came back in a bit to the left with an up arrow. So I had no idea how long I'd have to be on the bus before getting to the RER, but I was really out of options. After a few mintues (of rapid praying and talking myself out of panicing and crying) the TVM showed up again and I hopped on.
Sitting on the bus (with a creeper staring at me for an uncomfortable duration) my brain had a conversation with itself:
I can't believe I couuld be so stupid to forget my cell phone!
Well, at least I remembered my keys! (as I've been locked out a few times already)
But how could I forget my cell phone!!!
But I have my KEYS!!!
What if the RER B isn't running???
It doesn't stop until after midnight. It's only 9:30.
But what if I'm south of Massy-Palisseau and the trains aren't running this far south??
I can always get a taxi.
When have you ever seen a taxi outside of the Paris city limits?
Hmmm. Good point.
And if the train isn't running, why would taxi's be hanging out at a closed train station?
Another good point. Okay, I'll find a police man.
And say what? You know three sentances in French (and none of them are: HELP! I'm an idiot!)
I would show them student ID if they couldn't understand me.
I could walk back.
You don't know the way.
I'll sleep in the station and take the first train in the morning.
You're making your mother cry at this very moment. She trained you better than this!
Well, regardless, it's not going to do anyone any good if you panic.
(enter panic stage left)
(enter prayer stage right)
(exit panic stage left)
(exit prayer stage right)
After about another half hour on the bus I made it to the RER B station, which was actually north of my stop, so all my worst-case scenario, Plans B, C, D, E, and F never came to fruition. I waited 15 minutes for the train, and before I knew it I was walking the empty, quiet, after 10pm streets of Old Massy.
So there you have it. Another episode in my life. Enjoy the laugh (it will keep you young).