Thursday, February 25, 2010

Strikes, affecting more than just H&H Bagels.

The idea of a strike is laughable in America. If you won't do your job, we will find someone to replace you. Problem solved. Actually, the word strike used to make me think of Kramer and his one-man picket line in front of H&H bagels. The Human Fund. Two Face. Festivus. Those were the good 'ol days. Now, the mere mention of the word grève makes my left eye start twitching, things can get downright messy. How messy, you might ask? Let me count the ways:

Try two weeks sans garbage collection in Marseille, in the dead of summer. Stinky Marinky. Or how about refusing to stock ATM's with cash? Money, who needs that? Chaotic train service rife with cancellations and delays? Been there, done that. Opération escargot? That's when the truck drivers park their 18 wheelers in snail shell formation around the beltlines in major cities. This makes getting anywhere a real challenge. No metro, tram, or buses for days on end all because of a mouvement social? It happens all of the time. Strike-related fuel shortages? There's currently no diesel fuel left in all of Toulouse. Thanks Clio, I've never been happier that you take unleaded. Universities barricaded by tables, chairs and any other moveable obstructions for weeks and months? Par for the course. I've even seen 5 year-olds take to the streets with their parents and teachers over the closing of an école maternelle. They start 'em early in these parts.

Which brings us to today, less than 48 hours before the wedding and the air traffic controllers are still on strike. I wish I knew why. Probably because they work 100 days per year and earn six-figure salaries, paid in euros. I will be hosting no pity parties any time soon.

What does this mean for us? Monsieur J's parents may have to drive or take the train, a 12-hour adventure from Brittany. Their local airport is, get this: CLOSED. For real. Other guests leaving out of Paris-Orly have a fifty percent chance of their flight taking off. As for my parents, I can only hope their flight will not be cancelled. At least they're flying through London, so James can charm the British Airways staff en anglais if need be. So there you have it, we may be 17 for the festivities or we may be 8, only time will tell!


  1. Ann, everything is going to be okay. We are thinking of you every minute and wishing we were there.

  2. Thanks Ann, I think you're right. It looks like almost everyone will be able to get here after all. Thanks again for the well wishes, we'll celebrate again in Richmond sometime soon!

  3. Ann!!!! I was thinking about you and J all weekend -- Charlie was too!!!! I hope everything went well and that everyone made it!!!! Congrats and I can't wait to hear all about the wedding!!!!

  4. You forgot the part about the French transit workers laying down on the railroad tracks so the trains can't go anywhere. True story. That little stunt left me stranded in Cannes in 2003.

  5. Erin, I wouldn't put it past them, not even for a second. Anyway, I hope you weren't stuck on a train and that you were able to take advantage of being in Cannes!