Dreaming Of Paris...

Hollow sounds of squeaky shoes and clacking heels, reverberant, washed out voices, movement everywhere – I am lost somewhere at the Charles de Gaulles Airport in Paris. Now where is the ticket booth for the RER train? A luminous sign ahead: “Billetterie” – and of course there is a seemingly never-ending line snaking in front of it. Great. My dinner date is at seven. “You can buy tickets at the machine, “ a nice French gentleman informs me and kindly points me to the direction. Relieved, I jog towards it, tugging my little suitcase behind. I punch my destination into the cold screen. The metallic box, churning and gnarling, mulls over my selection for a few seconds, then demands eight Euros and seventy cents in coins. As I frantically search for loose change, my robotic conversation partner impatiently beeps and threatens to cancel my reservation. Finally I discover the credit card slot, take a deep breath and feed the monster; very soon, the wicked slot mouth spits out a slender strip of paper.

An hour later, passing densely packed metro stations of Paris’ underground, picking up and dropping off people from all walks of life, I arrive at Gare du Nord. Here, in the middle of the platform, my friend – who I had not seen in years – and I decided to meet. Will I recognize him, I wonder. I wait for twenty minutes: several trains have arrived and departed by now, a group of police officers eye me suspiciously. There! Across from me, on the opposite platform, a man smiles and waves. Sandwiched between strangers, we are pushed up the escalator to the exiting gate. The ticket vanishes through the slot, the first gate opens, and I am in a glass cage. A small surveillance camera is pointed at me. The lash of my suitcase already in my hand, I prepare to exit. Suddenly the warning lamps flash red and the system’s alarms go off: I remain locked in. A second attempt fails likewise. Curious stares into my direction, for a brief moment, Paris’ buzzing underground has come to a halt.
Finally, a soothing hum, the gate doors in front of me click open, a dashing French officer waves me through. Vive la France!

Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2015
All names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this blog are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. © All rights reserved.