The Trip that Almost Never Was

Friday morning, I spent the day traipsing around through fields full of spider webs at the Nancay Observatory, a lab associated with the Observatoire de Paris and full of giant (hundreds of meters wide) radio wave telescopes/inferometers, watching my porcelain skin get eaten away by the sun. As the lobster bake initiated, I was confident that I would be back into Paris with hours to spare–and I was. However, my confidence soon became my downfall.

A day earlier, Chipotle wrapped its first burrito in Paris. As anyone who knows me understands, nothing comes in between me and my chipotle unless there is literally an ocean separating us, so I jumped at the chance of seizing one of the first Parisian chipotle burritos. After taking a metro ride 45 minutes long to the north side of town, Francisco graciously agreed to wait with me for stingily-proportioned burritos at the end of a 50 person line. As time ticked on and on, Francisco and I realized that we were quickly running out of time to get back and make it to the bus station to leave for Amsterdam, compounded by the fact that we had absolutely no idea where the station was and Francisco had yet to pack.

The next two hours were pure chaos. Francisco was a trooper, but I was a mess–I’ve never been able to “embrace fate” as Francisco does, showing up to the airport past boarding time for the thrill of it. I ran my lungs off, and the two of us giggled nervously during the down time as we waited for our stop.

Miraculously, at 11:10 our Paris-Amsterdam 11:00 bus was still docked. We ran to the door, exhausted but exalting, ready to board the bus.

The bus driver was not pleased. He told us, again and again, that the ticket counter had closed, we had not checked in, and therefore we could not enter the bus in harried French. Francisco and I tried and tried, phrasing our quandary in different ways, begging him to reconsider, but he wasn’t having any of it. “J’suis desole, il n’y a pas de choses que je peux faire,” he said.

With such bad luck and my face contorted with worry, I felt like I was about to cry. Then I got a great idea. I cried.

Francisco immediately melted a bit, saying, “oh, come on, don’t cry, it’s not such a big deal,” but as soon as he finished saying it the driver’s back turned and I gave Francisco the most concentrated stink eye I have ever delivered, and Francisco understood immediately.

Faced with a girl in tears and a boy trying to comfort her in her grief, the driver ceded. “Fine, just go in,” he said, with a sigh of exasperation.

….and that is the story of how I came to be here, on the second level of a bus in Northern France, writing this story via iPad. I’ve realized that I’ve been ignoring my true calling all along–I was born to act…

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