September 26, 2007

Pierre, my metro man!

Apparently I have the public-transport-driver-attraction gene. In what is becoming 'all in a day's work', I hitched a ride in the cockpit of metro line 6 early this morning. It was unintentional, I promise. See, I have a talking-point travel mug. Talking point because people always ask me where I got that practical, 17 ounce thermos mug . When I reply
"Etats-Unis (United States)"

I often get a raised eyebrow and wistful....
'Ah, quand même - they do have some good things over there."

So back to my morning. Seeing as I was catching the metro at 6h30 AM, I stood on the platform towards the head of the train, sipping my hibiscus tea from my quirky AMERICAN mug-job. Metro pulls in. Driver gives me a grin. I return the grin and think this must be about my mug. He pokes his head out the window and invites me into his booth. I wave 'no thanks' (was planning on napping in the metro!) and start to walk towards the first carriage. Metro driver opens the door to his booth and sticks his whole body out and says, in a Southern accent:

"Venez - come, you are charming!"

So I realise no nap is to be had on this ride and climb in the front with him. He asks me about the contents of my mug and we get chatting. I reveal the inside knowledge I have about the RATP and how everyone wants to drive the RER's, but has to spend a minimum of 8 years on the metro first and then there are still the waiting lists... he is most impressed that I know all this and confirms my info. Then I ask him if he is from Toulouse (given his accent) and this really impresses him, seeing as he couldn't place my accent. (Obviously, no-one ever expects South Africans).

Anyway, to cut a 22 minute conversation short, this time I got a first name and a phone number! And not because I asked for it either - it was offered to me and written on a scrap of paper in a station where the other poor-sod passengers couldn't figure out why we were stopped for so long!

I think I might just call that number... when I hear rumors of metro strikes.... (he, he, he)


Mark said...


You weren't on the National Rail from Raynes Park to Vauxall today where you? What is usually a 8 minute joutney was at least double that....


Hollywoodgal said...


You know, I'm getting so used to cockpit metro rides that I was quite disgruntled when I flashed a huge smiled at a driver yesterday and he gave me a blank stare in return and didn't invite me into his booth! ( Then it occurred to me that I am too far gone....)

But Mark, your problem is you're on the wrong side of the Channel to get anywhere in reasonable time, with or without me collecting contact details or having the dead man's handle demonstrated to me... don't get me started on signal failures and leaves on the track!