After I dropped off my mum at the airport, I got back on the RER B. It’s the suburban train that goes all the way from the airport Charles de Gaulle to Palaiseau. It’s a long, boring ride and I often get a back ache from the uncomfortable RER seats.
There was a shop at the train station, you know the ones. They sell magazines, bottled water, chocolate bars and in this case also a few english language novels.
I mostly read news on my phone when I’m on a train these days. But it has gotten at the same time so repetitive, boring and depressing that I didn’t want to spend another hour with it. Instead, I talked myself into treating myself to a book. I found a new one by a mystery writer I like and dug in.
After about 15 minutes I noticed three really bored, loud kids annoying their mother. One didn’t want to stay in the stroller, another one dropped her lollipop and cried. Two were fighting.
After five minutes the mother lost her patience and made them all sit down, right next ot me. One girl looked at my lego bag, and I thought she was impressed by it. So I took of a brick to show her that they are not glued on. She started trying to pry one off as well. Her mother scolded her but I said it’s okay, figuring that way they’s stop sqabbling and play instead.
They asked where I was going: “All the way to Massy-Palaiseau.” What a coincidence, so were they! The next 60 minutes I had 2 kids with sticky hands squabbling over my lego bag instead of their mum’s phone while she tried to calm down the toddler who tried to climb everywhere.
I used thin bricks for the QR code on purpose, because I kept losing the regular sized ones. I recognised the sound of Lego bricks hitting the floor wherever I went. These thin bricks are much harder to get off the base plate.
The girl clearly had a plan with the bricks: “Tu peux m’enlever ça?” she asked. Her mother scolded her: She needs to be polite to adults! “Madame, tu peux m’enlever ça, s’il te plaît?” she asked. So I helped her to build a chateau and the wall of the chateau while trying to prevent her brother from throwing too many bricks on the floor.
At some point during the train ride one of the kids climbed on my leg and tried to get to the window from there. At another point they all watched a song from Frozen on their mum’s phone.
She asked me if I had kids. And when she heard my accent also where I was from. “Autriche”. “And what do you like better, France of Austria?”. Several people have asked me that. I hope I don’t ask people that. It’s a strange question. I usually say that you can’t compare the two.