Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Down by the station early in the morning

Strike Day dawned chill but clear. I couldn't sleep so was up at 4am and clearing my email. The bonus was that a couple of my workmates from Waitakere sent me emails at that time. Almost as good as seeing them.

Negotiating the wheelie bins on the footpath on my way to the station I wondered how everyone was going to cope with the strike. I knew there were a few rare trains running during the strike so I made sure I was up to get the early one. I could tell it was anything but a normal day as soon as I arrived. People everywhere, you couldn't see the ground. All over multiple platforms, lots of nervous smokers. How the train managed to arrive on time is beyond me because at each stop it took so long for people to get on and off.

Settling back in my window seat as the doors closed I felt very sorry for all the people left behind. They stood looking very intensely and solemnly as the train pulled away and then, on masse, they reached for their cellphones. This happened at every station we stopped at. At last my destination arrived but the hoardes were even bigger. The snack bars were running out of lunches by 8am. Onwards the seething masses poured towards the commercial centre of town as I indulged in some appropriate rock music by Daughtry. It seemed to fit.

As expected the welcome meeting/induction at the university in the afternoon was way over my head. We got there in a rather circuitous route in Victoria's car, despite her GPS. Two and a half hours of listening to french speaking in a big room. Only two powerpoint presentations, which were very dry with far too many words on each slide (and that from the communications manager for the University). Apparently there was really useful stuff. I have no idea what it was but I came away with a mug and a little satchel. I can put them to good use.

I hope Victoria can find some time in our busy day tomorrow to explain the key points. I felt very helpless and vulnerable. At the nibbles afterwards no one talked to us. This sort of thing is hopeless for me, I can't contribute and I can't assert myself because my language is too limited. I'm frustrated at the isolation that imposes on me and feel rather childlike but there's no mummy for me.

So yet another late night home. I must leave on time tomorrow after work as I am meeting Laurence, a retired lady of 60 years at Les Essarts le Roi.   She will collect me from her station and take me home to have something to eat (food, not me). She's a member of couchsurfing. I'm trying to use internet networks to make contact with people in my spare time.


Alison said...

See the little puffing billies all in a row!..... How do they know which trains are running? Do the people just go early and hope for the best? I know what you mean about the frustration of not understanding what people are saying. One on one is fine, but something like that.... It's so hard. At least you got a mug and a satchel out of it! Lol. Have a nice time with Laurence. What actually is couchsurfing? Is it sort of like internet dating but just for making friends?

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