The World Is My White Board

Location: Bmore for the Moment, Maryland, United States

Thursday, December 09, 2004

My First Strike...

"How exciting" I thought to myself while I waited in the rain for a bus. At that time however, I did not realize that I would be waiting for another 45 minutes or more. This was my first experience of the French Strike. For those of you who do not know, the French are infamous for their ability to strike at will. It’s absolutely amazing at how the French can just paralyze any form of convenience. They certainly make striking appear easy and methodical. The best part of the strike system is that anyone who would feel inconvenienced by these forms of protest, really don’t seem to mind. The public is conditioned to it. For instance, I along with about 50 others are waiting to board a bus. It's raining, and the bus driver is blocking the door. He lets us know that the bus will depart in 45 minutes but rather than letting us wait in a warm and dry bus, he insists that we are not allowed on the bus. Okay... reason to be mad? Nope!

He and those please let me be patrons were interacting by trading stories, talking about football, and joking around. He was smiling most of the time and through some miracle they were too. Everyone understood the "Hey were sorry but what can we do" attitude. No one thought about the morning rush-hour or the cold and damp weather. They immediately sympathized with the bus drivers. They were thinking “It was the evil politician’s fault that these men were unhappy and now it’s the politicians who are making us suffer too”. “This must be the only suitable action, so we will stand by and support the bus drivers”. Even I, the American and the faithful advocate of un-unionized labor, was taken back by the mood. I started to lose all my cares in the world (except the devaluation of the dollar), I could only think of the “poor” bus driver. As I was watching the bus driver I was amazed at how he created such a positive and sympathetic aura towards his cause. What a true showman, a gentleman, and a true and honest man; this man has the type of charisma that could pick up not one, but three girls at Viceroy (LA Bar) without even buying them a drink (something powerful enough to end the Palestinian and Israeli conflict). All I can say is that on a cold and rainy day in early December, I experienced a little French Magic.