Monday, January 12, 2009

Limo Ride p. 1

It just fell to me, it was as if I had no choice in it.

Some one said to me one Tuesday night.
-hey you probably qualify to have a free transit card. You know because of your situation and all.
Proof, once again, that even in the worst of positions there is always a facet that shines, a face with a grin. An official who is officious. That’s what I’m looking for. It’s not always so evident in the land of babel.

In any case it was a project, something to do, a direction to head. The next morning I turned on the computer and searched some info on how to go about acquiring a free transit card. There was nothing precise but the right did seem to existed, and it appeared that I filled all the requirements. A few weak leads pointed to a bureau in town here. If I didn't dally I could catch them open. I brushed my teeth, shodded up and headed over to the bureau.

After receiving the requisite not our department run around, I was given a vague route towards another bureau where they might be able to answer my questions ‘avec plus de precision’. I went to this office and it was more of the same. (the gatekeeper, a pretty young girl of very local roots, was suspicious of my status - unwealthy american. She scoffs me when I jokingly apologize for breaking her myth that is, evidently, still active regarding us folk from the empire). I did glean one key piece of information - she let slip the magic words while on the phone with her superior asking what to do with me. (I never let on I have this same problem).
As she cocked the phone away from me, she inquired if the benefit I was looking for wasn’t the ‘carte mandarine. (see the orange on the bus? it’s all so clever, so coded, so hidden just in front of your face.)

I immediately went home, searched the word ‘carte mandarine’ and voila! No need for all the bureau’s and the bureaucrats. Trips in cars and forms and letters - not even the post. Transport L’Herault run by the Department of L’Herault, has all the info on a hard to find (without the secret words - carte mandarine.) web page. I dashed off an E-pistle about what was needed to secure this Carte Mandarine.

The next day the reply was in my e-mail in-box. They needed my address and a justification of my official situation. (Here I can say that ‘officially’ I am a wreck, how much this bleeds into my ‘unofficial’ personal life is another subject that I will surely reflect on during my upcoming bus rides). Everything could be done via email. I immediately scanned in the single sheet of paper necessary that shows my address and the fact that I am officially wanting and sent it off. It was France at its best. Fraternity Equality Liberty all with the friendly efficiency of the modern day technology.

Just 6 days later I open my mailbox and found an orange and blue themed envelope which upon opening revealed a similarly colored magnetically readable pass for all transit within the region. I was now holder of an all access, free pass on all modes of transit in the department. All grace of an aside from a stranger at a party on a Tuesday night. Long live les fetes. Vive le republic. I am full of dreams.


  1. The law of attraction at work once again. Put it out there!

  2. Come on and take a freeeeee ri--i-i-i-i-i-de.