Friday, June 23, 2006
Longest Day of the Year
June 21 is the summer solstice and I don't think we do much to celebrate the longest day of the year in the U.S., but in Europe, it is an excuse to party. Paris has the Fetes de la Musique; musicians play throughout Paris in big arenas, on make shift stages, outside bars and restaurants, or in the streets.
I was really excited about the prospect of drinking all night, walking through the streets and listening to music. I went into Paris yesterday morning to look at an apartment (what a dump!) with the expectation of coming back on the first morning metro at around 6 in the morning after a joyful evening filled with booze and music. However, I ended up heading home around 11 p.m., getting stranded on a platform for almost 2 hours and arriving home at 3 in the morning. Let me explain.
First of all, it rains all the time in Europe. It is a light rain, but it happens more days than not and it is annoying. Last night it started raining at 10, a very steady, cold rain. The temperature was perfect for a dry evening, but the rain made it awfully chilly. I had on my flip flops and a thin shirt; not the best attire for the evening, I admit, but I didn't plan ahead.
Everyone in my party had been up since the wee hours so we were all tired. The girls and I had spent the day shopping, so we weren't in party mode. The rain just finished us off. I hated to call it a night; there were tons of people in the street, lots of music, lots of fair-like foods and it was still a little light, but my body just wouldn't let me. Especially after everyone else said they were heading home.
I fought my way onto the metro and realized after being shoved into the wall I needed to use the bathroom rather urgently. Too bad for me because I had at least an hour commute if all went according to the normal schedule. Guess what!!! Nothing went according to schedule. I missed my first suburban train because the stupid football fans were blocking the stairs. Then when I finally caught a train headed in my direction, it stopped in the worst possibly area outside Paris because of a bomb threat. I had to wait on the platform for 2 hours for the metro police to clear the area. 2 HOURS for another train. In the worst neighborhood in France. It was bad, real bad. Then, when my train finally arrived, there we a zillion people on it and I had to squeeze in. My face was actually pressed against the window. Everybody was drunk, loud and VERY smelly.
Throughout the whole ordeal, I kept thinking about using the bathroom and if it would be terribly bad to pee in my pants at my age. I didn't, but I thought about doing it. A lot. More than I care to admit. I made bargains with the train gods and my bladder; I sang songs; I recited books, just to keep my mind off the immense pain. When I finally got home, I wanted to cry. I hate not living in Paris! I hate commuting. It is a waste of time and it always puts me in a bad mood, and not to mention, it probably damages my bladder.