Thursday, 17 November 2011

One Strike And You're Out

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ One Strike And You're Out ~

BONUS: For Street Photography Fans!

The trains are on strike again. Well, a few of the people who drive and organise them are anyway.

Sometimes I wonder what the attitude is of those who are left behind. I mean, those who don't strike and are obliged to sit in offices or stand on platforms taking abuse from frustrated commuters. Do you think it's a bit of light relief from the daily train-train, as the French call the daily grind, or are they as pissed off as the rest of us? Maybe they'd like to be on strike too but have to guarantee a minimum service.

What's funny too is that it's all so well organised, this chaos. They know exactly how many trains won't be running, they print out thousands of little readjusted timetables to let us know the day before just how fucked up our tomorrows are going to be, and stand there handing them out, if not exactly smiling, all very efficient and business-like. If we're going to have a strike, let's do it properly, what?!

It's all laid down in law in any case, this 'right to strike', and boy do they use that one! As long as you tell everyone in advance it seems that you can spend days and days every month basically not doing your job. The reserves of resilience and resignation possessed by the average Parisian commuter will always be a source of wonder for me. But then again I am one, so I should know.

It took me two and a half hours to get home yesterday, on a trip which should have taken far less. And when you leave the office after 8pm that doesn't leave a lot of evening for the family when you get home.

How do people 'amuse' themselves in such circumstances? Well they smoke (illegally), of course. They pace, they phone and text, and huff and puff occasionally. They 'ohh-la-la!' and 'putain-fais-chier', which I won't translate. And some even take pictures on cracked iPhones of screen gazers and platform plodders, or invent love stories between empty cigarette packets and discarded coffee cups (crumpled account coming soon to a blog near you ;~).

I had to drive partner to other station because of this p*t**n de strike, and on depositing her running at the entrance I inadvertently hogged a pedestrian crossing for a few seconds. An irate man with a little girl kicked my car. As opposed to kicking my car with the little girl. Or just kicking the little girl for that matter. I opened the door and screamed French obscenities at him. I was rather proud of my performance, I must say. I didn't stutter once, struck just the right balance between dangerous anger and 'I'm suffering the same shit as you are man' indignation, threw in some rather impressive gros mots and slammed my door decisively, thus signalling face-saving closure before he came and did to me what he'd just done to my rear door.

Bonne journée !

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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