I’ve been stuck in the French countryside, aboard the Eurostar, for six hours now.
First they announced in Franglish that we couldn’t leave the Gare du Nord because our conductor had a parole problem and was late arriving to the train.
Then they made the same announcement in French and it turned out that the conductor was looking after a power problem and therefore was late arriving to the train.
We only left about 15 minutes late, so I figured I was more or less on schedule to arrive in London early this evening.
Three hours later and I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere, and the Eurostar attendants (but not the conductor on parole) are distributing cups of water. The heat has conquered our train—as well as two other Eurostar trains—and we have been told we will just have to sit here until another train comes along and can pick us up and take us across the Channel.
Oh, but sorry—all the trains in Paris and Lille are also broken down.
It’s now 8 p.m. and we’re heading back to Paris, where a working train has appeared, and which—under the guidance of an upstanding conductor—will guide us back to London by 1 or 2 a.m.
How am I responding to all of this?
With Hollywood gum.
It’s definitely inferior to Extra, but Hollywood is my gum of choice when I’m in la France. It doesn’t taste like Hollywood and it doesn’t smell like Hollywood, but all of my French friends are always surprised when I tell them that Hollywood gum is completely inconnu in the U.S.
Don’t get me wrong—chewing Hollywood is not putting me in a better mood. I’m still very mad about this train/heat/conductor-on-parole business. But at least it overpowers the smell of Mr. Corn Chips next to me, who keeps elbowing me as he switches his magazine from horizontal to vertical as he “reads” its pictorial content.
UPDATE: We never made it back to Paris. Instead, we sat in the same train, Mr. Corn Chips and I, until sometime after midnight another train came and got us and--barring a bit of a delay due to a selfish woman who decided to go into labor--we made it into London before 6 a.m. this morning.
Categories: gum, Extra, Hollywood, evil