It’s Saturday and I heard the recycle trash trucks outside. Hurrah. The clatter and noise used to be harsh on my ears. Now it is dulcet tones – a lyrical melody. Of course, the sound of the regular trash truck is even more mellifluous now. Why such a transformation? Do I need my hearing checked?
No. The trash guys joined the train and airline pilots and went on strike for a week. Sometimes you find out things experientially. When I came back home Monday, the trash was still out. But then there was a HUGE crane in the middle of the street so I figured the trucks just couldn’t get through. It seemed odd though because Neuilly-sur-Seine is fanatical about cleaning. The neighborhood yard sale was last weekend (do you recall the post last year? LINK). And Sunday night the street cleaning team –truck and two guys walking with hoses on the sidewalks) was going down the street cleaning up after the event. On a Sunday! So when the trash remained, it was odd. But Tuesday on my way out I saw trash out on every corner on every street. More was going on than a crane!
STRIKE. Why? I don’t know. But they decided not to pick up trash for a week. The government officials scrambled. I heard they were hiring private companies. But then, of course, there were strikers blocking the entrance to the dumps. <Insert Gaellic shrug here>
By Friday Neuilly at least got its act together and regular trash was picked up. And moments ago the recycling was too.
And last Monday I was also caught up in it a bit… I got a news alert on my phone that railway workers had stormed Montparnasse train station. Rolling eyes. Ok fine I wasn’t going there. But I did have to talk to the Thalys train people at Le Gare Du Nord. Thalys is a high speed train that runs between France, Belgium and the Netherlands. And maybe Germany… But it’s separate from the SNCF (France) and so was not supposed to be affected by these strikes. Still, I had some questions. So I hopped on the metro. The metro car is noisy- singing, whistles and fog horns. Puzzling – but the big football games are coming… We stop at Gare de l’Est before Gare du Nord. And all these boisterous people get off and now I see the flags unfurling. SUD – one of the railway unions. These people – and a lot of them – were massing on the platform to march through the train station. I had seen the same at Gare de Lyon last week. Happy to see they were not going on to my destination. But when I get to Gare du Nord, I see battalions of police. Ok, maybe not battalion which is apparently 3 or more companies in an army unit… But MANY. And police trucks parked down several different streets. I wanted to tell them that the strikers got off at the last stop but figured they would discover that soon enough.