Jiggerypokery on the train between Poitiers and Tours. I get to the station half an hour in advance to buy a ticket for the 20.22, but the option didn’t appear on the ticket machine screen. The ticket office had just closed. At the Information desk I was told that these tickets are only sold on the internet. So how can I buy a icket for the train? I asked. You can’t, she said. The only option is to wait on the platform and when the train gets in, the controleur will step off for a few seconds. You must catch him and ask him if he’ll let you buy a ticket on the train. But the train is long and nobody will know where he will step off. And it will only be for a few seconds. I looked at him incredulously. Is this a game from Jeux Sans fontieres?
The train arrived at 20.22. and I am haring up and down Platform 2 with my bags in hand screaming Ou est le controleur?. I see him three wagons up and just get to him before he can hop back on.
– Je peux acheter un billet dans le train?
– Pas de probleme.
So I’m on the train when I do my rant.
– C’est pas normal. On est dans une gare avec une dizaine d’employes and personne ne veut me vendre un ticket. Et si j’etais un touriste ou une personne agee? D’ailleurs je suis les deux.
The ticket inspector is good-humoured. He looks at me with a touch of understanding in his eyes. I think I’ve made my point. I want to rant a bit more though. The controleur interrupts me.
– Votre braguette est ouverte (Your fly is open).
– Merci, I say. Yes merci (as I zip up). But that doesn’t change wha I was saying, does it? Braguette or no braguette.
– Parfaitement, says the controleur. Bonne Journee!