It’s 6AM when I wake up to the sound of my mobile telling me it’s time to go. Grab my stuff and put it all back together again.
Have the free breakfast from the hotel. It’s not good at all but it’s passable and I’m in a rush. Down two hardboiled eggs, some croissants, enough muesli to choke a horse, and cup after cup of god-awful instant coffee. The British really love their instant coffee.
Note to self: eat more muesli.
Hoof it over to the St. Pancras train station where I remove my belt and watch only to put it on again after the checkpoints. Catch the 8:55 train to Gare Du Nord Paris.
At first the train’s essentially empty but it turns out that it makes a stop where my car fills with screaming school kids wearing purple shirts from St. Peter’s London Docks and three harried looking women wearing the same, herding them.
From the conversations around me, evidently Lester feels yogurt is too sour, Maneer wants to be a ninja and Alice doesn’t understand today’s music. They are all about 10 years old.
This is the ninth circle of hell.
At the halfway mark, make my way over to the restroom and note that the “occupied” indicator is off. I open the door to lock eyes with a young Indian boy, no more than 7 or 8, with dropped trou. He begins to scream in abject horror – neglecting entirely to pull up his aforementioned dropped knickers. (Are you impressed how I used the word “kinckers” I feel fancy today).
With amazing alacrity, and dexterity, frankly, he kicks the door closed – and I can only assume he fell in the process.
His story does not end here.
Not knowing whether or not I should wait for him to be finished, realize that he has no idea how to open the door now and is effectively trapped in the Eurostar lavatory. He is now screaming in earnest; he’s swinging for the fences, that boy is.
Backing away, from what I am sure will end up with me starting sentences with, “Officer…” I gingerly tap one of the women wearing the purple St. Peter’s London Docks shirts and say, “I believe one of your kids is trapped in the loo.” (Again, note how I used the word “loo.” I could pass for British).
Her: Thank you for getting me – he’s out now but he’s not one of ours.
Me: (looking around at the car of screaming kids) Oh, well I figured I had the odds on my side.
That kid’s scarred for life.
I arrive in Paris with two bags and a headache.
Decide to walk the mile to my hotel to clear my mind. It’s a long day, so I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow, yeah?
Location: another European city, another cuppa joe
Music: let’s get rich and buy our parents homes in the south of France