December 23rd, 2008

Fun Loving Criminal

My back spasmed out on the way home which left me barely awake for like an hour and when I got home I realized that I'd lost my keys. My back hurt so much that the idea of running back to the street seemed like a bad idea.

So, I used my shoulder to open up the door to my building. Then I used a plastic knife to work through the lock on my door.

After that i called my landlord and even though I'm 22 days late on the rent he said he would come over and give me keys tomorrow.

He asked me why I was so late on the rent and I lied to him and told him I'm been in the hospital, which given that my head and shit is covered with recovering bruises will seem right.

Edit: It now occurs to me that the fact that I was able to get in here without keys is probably not good. That said, I spent 10 years learning how criminals work and the French are lazy, so I'm not convinced they would know how to break into an apartment like this.

La Recherche Du Temps Perdu

"Hey," Rome Girl said when she called me this morning. "I'm on the train and they said they are going to stop in Ventimigglia instead of Nice, can you find out why?"

Yes, I can.

Doing some online research I found out several things:

1. Apparently during a strike a year or so ago some rail workers sabotaged train tracks. One of them was indicted for "terrorism" yesterday and in response some rail workers are sabotaging more train tracks.

2. Some asshole in Paris, in a situation that seems unrelated to the previous item, used a rifle to start shooting out the overhead electric lines that run the trains. This has the French police paranoid and they are stopping random trains, searching people, acting like post 9/11 FBI agents and in general fucking up the rail system.

3. There is some weirdo regional strike going on with the sub-union that runs the trains between Marseilles and Nice that is unrelated to the above two items. La Figaro says that this means that only one in four trains that deal with Nice or Marseilles will be running today and that other passengers will be "peturbe". I'm not sure what "peturbe" means in that context. Yes, I understand the concept of "perturbed" but does that mean "shit out of luck" or "delayed?"

Writer's Block: Top 10

It's the time of year for "10 Best" lists. What's on your personal 10 Best—events, movies, music, anything—list for 2008?

10. When Britney shaved her head. Crazy bald robots boost my crank.

9. That time I poured gasoline over the beggar and watched him dance while he died.

8. Discovering the joys of heroin. Girls think my track marks are hot!

7. Butt Cam

6. My precious!

5. When I promised to pull out.

4. The dudes hanging around Wall Street with signs reading "jump you motherfuckers."

3. Finding Jesus in my toilet tank.

2. Anticipating Top Cruise' performance in "Valkyrie."

1. The Accommodator.

Train In Vain

So, now they are telling Rome Girl that they will provide her with a bus from Ventimigglia to Nice.

But, the Nice to Marseilles train line is shut down and potentially won't be operating until tomorrow, but they are not sure because the union is being vague on if the strike will continue until Midnight or simply until the end of evening rush hour. There is also talk of one in four trains running this evening - which would mean that not everyone would be able to get on a train.

She's thinking that Ventimigglia is a (pun intended) nicer place to be stuck in than Nice, so she's going to ask at the Ventimigglia station if she can exchange today's tickets for tickets on the same train tomorrow.

I'm waiting with bated breath.


Rome Girl and I were just on the phone with her trying to decide if she wants to risk getting stuck in Nice or simply get a hotel overlooking the beach in Ventimigglia.

"All they will say is that they can guarantee I'll get to Nice, but they can't promise me I'll get to Montpellier," she said. "And they won't tell me if I can exchange my ticket. My ticket to Marseilles says it's valid until January 8. But my ticket from Marseilles to Montpellier is only good today. I would think with a strike they'd let me exchange it but who the fuck knows?"

"How much is the ticket from Marseilles to Monpellier," I asked her.

"It's 25 euros," she said.

"That's not a lot, maybe you should just stay where you are not worry about craziness. I mean you could get stuck in Marseilles and that place is a shit hole," I said.

"That's what I was thinking," she said, "But then I thought...."

And, suddenly her phone went dead. Because she's out of credit on it. And you can't buy credit for French phones in Italy. And I can't get her credit and text it to her because she can't accept text messages without credit.

So, I have no idea what is going on.

Planes, Trains And Automobiles

She's over the French border now and on a train that should get her into Nice around 6:15.

This is a problem because the only train from Marseilles to Montpellier that she is sure is running it as 7:30 and it's a two and half hour train ride from Nice to Marseilles. And no one will tell her when a train from Nice will be leaving in the direction of Marseilles anyway.

They keep telling her she'll have to wait in line to find out in Nice - along with every other fucker who has had their trains delayed/canceled.

Getting Ridiculous

At the Nice train station they told her they had no idea of any trains would be running from Marseilles to Montpellier this evening, but told her she should get on the train to Marseilles anyway. That train was supposed to leave at 6. It's now 7:05 and it hasn't left Nice Station yet.

Given that it's a two hour and a half hour minimum ride to Marseilles the earliest she'd get there if the train left right now is 9:30. Normally the trains to Montpellier stop running around 7:32 or so, though who the fuck knows what they will do on strike day. But part of me is having trouble imagining that there will be a train there for her - particularly since the trains that are running are running slower than usual as part of the strike, so realistically she won't get into Marseilles until around 10.

Other than Detroit I can't imagine a worse city to be stuck in.


They are letting her get on a Spanish sleeper train that makes a stop here. She'll have to stand for the two hour ride, but she'll at least arrive.

She gets in just after midnight and has been traveling since 7 a.m. so I'm not anticipating her being in the best of moods.