Friday, January 06, 2006


I finally went to the lab today. When I went to the doctor she just wrote me a prescription and then told me to go to this random "laboratory" for a blood sample. Of course I put it off for weeks and weeks, but today was the last day I could do it without getting up really early (my new schedule is crazy--I work nights 4 days a week and start between 9 and 11:30 every day. I say crazy, but I guess it's kind of normal, eh?).

Afterwards, I had about half an hour to kill before I picked Jube up at work, so I went to the train station. Why would I go to the train station? Well, you can find both English language magazines and vending machines, both good things for killing time. There are also lots of people going lots of places, and I like to imagine that all I have to do is buy a quick train ticket and then hop a train anywhere and then I would be just one of them--but they don't know I'm not one of them, so it's perfect anonymity. That might not make sense, but I like train stations. So I was reading my European Time and eating a "lion" candy bar when a young woman approached me.

"Excusez-moi, I'm a journalist and I'd like to ask you some questions. Is that all right?" I explained that I was American, and she might prefer a French person to answer. She seemed a tiny bit let down but continued anyway. "What do you think about the events that happened on the train this weekend?"

She was referring to an incident on New Year's Day when a gang of about 30 youths "rampaged" through a train. They stole things, beat people up, and even sexually assaulted a young woman. When the police were called, only two were sent (for a train of about 12 cars, obviously not enough), and they arrived late.

Well, what can you think about events like that? "I don't approve."

Her expression brightened slightly--I obviously knew how to speak a little French and I knew something about French current events. "Do you feel safe riding trains?"

"Well, I used to ride trains all the time, and I never felt unsafe. I think that the problem was that not enough policemen were sent and they didn't arrive on time."

She got a big smile on her face. "Oh! Well, you speak French really well, not much accent... Do you mind if I record you?" With that, she whipped out a microphone with "RTL2" written on it, one of the biggest talk radio stations in France. "Now, repeat what you just said. Now, what do you think of M. Sarkozy's proposal to put more policemen on trains?"

She even asked me what I thought of M. Sarkozy's politics, but I played it safe and told her I couldn't vote here. I guess I might get famous, now!

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