I checked my watch as the doors of the train opened. I’d left the afternoon meeting in just enough time to pick up my son from his garderie before their workday ended. I only needed to make one connection and ride the metro three stops, I may have even had a 5-10 minute cushion.
I was admittedly a little nervous. The day before, 5 minutes late picking up my son, I’d been lectured. “C’est pas possible, Monsieur! Il faut que vous arriviez à l’heure!” The directrice had squawked at me, saying that it’s simply not possible to come late. I must be there on time. We have a one-hour window in which to pick up our son, and there’s no room for error on the back side.
I wasn’t interested in another lecture, nor in being ‘that’ family.
So I quickly strolled up the stairs and across the metro station to make my connection. As I reached the platform, an announcement rang out. An “incident” had occurred, and everyone on the train was asked to exit, leave the station, and then find alternate transportation. A flood of hundreds of people then pushed up the stairs and out of the station. They were all trying to travel in the same direction as myself. Moments later we all stood at a bus stop, where we waited anxiously. The bus pulled up, but had barely room for 10 people, far less than the 100+ standing on the sidewalk. The electronic sign told us the next bus would come in 10 minutes. I checked my watch. I had exactly 10 minutes before I’d be arriving en retard.
I began to walk. Then, realizing my transit options were thinning quickly, I broke into a jog. Soon I was running hard down a busy street. People stared, wondering what was with the guy in dress pants and a polo, sprinting down Prado. I checked my watch again, time was ticking, a bit too fast.
Finally I turned the corner to the garderie. Red-faced and gasping for breath, I entered and saw the directrice. “Ah, Monsieur,” she said, somewhat cheerily, “Je viens d’écrire votre nom.” She informed me that she’d just written down my name. I was that parent. Twice in a row.
I have no idea what it means to have our name written down, but it can’t be good.