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Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, France
Living alone is the key to inner happiness...Isn't it?

Monday, 15 February 2010

Métro Surprises

Brilliant. The first day after I start a blog, something A-M-A-Z-I-N-G happens. Well I say amazing, but it may well be the case that after I've retold the story, it actually comes out as just plain shocking.

The Background...

In Toulouse, there is a métro. This métro has two lines, and is one of the most innovative in Europe. Apparently this is because it runs exclusively off electricity, and is completely automatic (there are no drivers). I say apparently, because this is the official line the company who built it, Tisseo, are going for. And in all honesty, I haven't got any arguments against this. They also say however that it is the best in Europe because there has never been any accidents on it. This is where I feel their argument breaks down...
The Setting...

I had just been in town, sorting out a load of printing stuff for my trip to Liverpool next week. Printing off boarding passes, but not being able to do the obligatory on-line check-in because you forgot your passport, is a nightmare (something which plenty of people have voiced their opinions on). SO, I had to return home to get it. And I nearly lost my metro card on the way. And I hadn't had lunch. So, I was in a less than good mood. Anyone who has ever been on an inner-city metro will tell you that it is not one of those places where it's a good idea to try to interact with other people. Often because it can end up like this.
So, I'm in the train, and the station I was passing at the time is the central station, Jean Jaurès, and therefore the station where the most people get on and off. As we all know, metro trains give about 30 seconds of open-door time, at the end of which is a menacing beep, signifying the imminent closure of the doors, no matter who's in the way at the time. Unfortuneatly for him, but not for me (as I was filled with mirth); on this particular occasion there was someone in the way.

The Victim...

Midde-aged man, with a shopping bag. And what I suspect was a...pressing...schedule (you'll laugh in a minute). And also what I suspect will from now on be a much less out-going attitude when it comes to running towards electric doors.

The tragic-but-funny outcome...
So I see this man from my vantage point inside the train, through the glass doors. The beep on the doors has been sounding for about a second. The man starts sprinting towards the train, clearly in a desperate bid to reach it before it leaves. Sadly, it would be taxing for even a much younger and fitter man to do this within the time left before the doors close. As with ALL people that have ever made fools out of themselves in public, our man doesn't realise it at the time, and sprints hell-for-leather towards the doors. They start to slide close, just as he attempts to squeeze himself through. The annoying thing is, if a few people had moved over a bit, he might have made it in. But, as said above, nobody on metros ever interacts with each other enough to actually care, or even be aware, of the welfare of another person. The doors of the metro close, savagely hard, on the man. Perhaps his most unlucky choice, amongst all others, was that he tried to lean through the doorway head-first, and thus it was on his face that the doors closed.

The moral...
When you hear a beep, and are running towards a metro train door, just don't even think about it. Especially if you're not, well, as young as you were. Also, never lead into things with your face. At the very best, you will escape with just a minor injury.

You may call me harsh, sick even, but I think that a situation like this is always worth laughing about. Let's face it, the only thing that was damaged was his integrity (which he can get back), and his shopping (which, admittedly, he probably can't).

Anyway, that's today's post, and I hope you enjoyed it, and for those of you living in areas with metros, it may sound obvious, but I urge you never to try to 'reckon you can make it'. You don't want to have to go through

PS I will not be translating this post into French. For those of you who live in Toulouse anywhere near the metro, by now you should know how to use it.


  1. Will, I have got you some new followers, but I'm sad to see you are slacking off on the blog front. I'm disappointed.

    This has nothing to do with me being very jealous that you are probably in Heebies now and I am about to go to bed so I can wake up early to go to school.

  2. In Madrid it's actually possible to get into trains when you hear the beep as long as you are reasonably near! I've managed it many times, however there has been the one time when the doors did try to squash me.. but opened again. It depends on how nice the driver is whether he lets more people on or not.. as he sees more people rushing to get on usually the case is yes! I once saw a man get his coat stuck in the door on the outside! People did actually go to help him open the door before the train started moving!