24 March 2010

La Greve redux

I remember it was about this time last year when we had only been in France a few weeks and we got to experience our first greve (strike). It was exciting then. I'm totally over it now.

The French strike at the drop of a hat, and especially the transit workers. Here's the secret: in France when you go on strike, you still get paid. Why not go on strike? Anyone can make up a grievance if it's going to mean a day off of work!

However, for those of us who still go to work every day (I hear: suckers!!), and who need the Metro to be working to get there, it becomes a major problem.

Yesterday: go to the RER station. I have a variety of options to choose on how to get from point A (apartment) to point B (work), but this one seemed (?) like a good choice, since my other major option includes 3 different Metro lines = 3 opportunities for problems. Rolf had already experienced leg one on that journey in going to get bread in the morning- bad enough that he walked home (30 minutes) from the bakery. But the RER was not immune to the strike- only a fraction of the trains were running, so I had to sit for 30 minutes before the next one showed up (for a 5 minute ride). When I got to the transfer point, the Metro was actually fine. But in the midst of my journey, my iPod died. It froze up, and when I unfroze it I got the sad iPod face. (Ok, it's 5 years old, but still, I love my iPod!) Wahhhh.

Getting home yesterday actually wasn't too bad.

But today. Ugh. So the strike was officially over. But that didn't mean that the commute would be trouble free. No. No problems on the RER, and Rolf let me use his iPod (now that's true love...). But when I got to the transfer point, there was a huge mob about 6 people deep on the platform, all the way down. It took 6 trains before I finally had made my way up enough to squeeze on, convinced that the closing door would smoosh me. The claim was "signal problems." My theory- all of the train engineers who worked yesterday decided to take today off. Hence, Metro chaos.

Clearly I'm not French enough yet. I need to go on strike.