Saturday, May 28, 2011

Frank Vs. Ze Angry French Mob

I have a tendency to rate my days, and May 27th was definitely rated "Triple Grade A Crap Day." 

I've just stepped off an Air France plane at Paris Charles De Gaulle coming back from Heathrow.  Travelling in Europe these past few years has generally been a pain in the ass....With all of the Volcano dust, global warming weather, paralyzing french strikes air strikes, paralyzing french train strikes, coupled with soul crushing road traffic.. the chances are high that you should get ready to bend over the minute you step into the airport or onto the tarmac.  I won't get into the boring details of my travels.. but it was definitely one of those lube me up and bend me over days. 

Funny enough, when I got out into the taxi Queue, I was approached by a Korean college student in Paris who spent his evenings driving Koreans around in Paris to earn some money.  Feeling like I needed a good injection boost of Karma, I pulled out of the line and hopped into the Korean Gypsy Cab.  I was thinking.. Korean Karma for helping this young student should straighten out my day.  Right?  Wrong.

An hour has passed and this kid has no idea of where the fast routes to my house are.  If there was a traffic jammed route, he took it.  I realized he didn't speak French and probably didn't have a license.  As we start getting more into the Paris Arrondisements, we hit another traffic spot.

This one is different though.  As our korean gypsy cab rolls forward to the front of the line, it gets engulfed by what appears to be a mix between the Castro Street Halloween parade and the Movement for French retirement at age 36.

My Korean guide had no idea what the G8 was or why people dressed like the Judas Priests with big chain necklaces of the Euro hanging around his neck.

5 minutes passed without any movement.  10 minutes.  15 minutes.  Bump! The car behind us hit our rear bumper.  We turn around hoping that no one was hurt.  Oh shit, its another crazy french parisien woman who thinks that she is more imporant than you.  She's yelling at us to drive forward, regardless of the fact that there are about 2 other cars in front of us that are blocked by the 500 angry protesters in front. 

Paris, with all of its lovely things has just too many people. You would think that with such a lovely city, people would be more friendly.  In the One man stand up comedy smash "How to be Parisien in one Hour" Olivier Giraud explains "Why are Parisiens such assholes?  We have shitty jobs, with shitty pay.  We live in shitty little apartments that are so small that your girlfriend can give you a blow job while doing the dishes at the same time"

So being the victim of misguided agression is kind of an occasional event for me in Paris.  Kind of like enjoying a nice spring day and getting crapped on by a bird every once in a while.   Angry Parisien lady behind me can't put 2+2 together that there is nowhere to go? Well, I don't really think she was thinking, "maybe if I just ram peoples cars they will understand that they need to ram the other 2 cars in front of them and then run over the 500 protesters."

So we were getting nowhere fast (literally), the driver can't speak french, and the cops were nowhere in sight. Fine. Time to take matters into my own hands.  I stepped out of the car, walked down the road and found 2 policemen.  They were the only 2 there, since this looks like it was an ad-hoc mob gathering organized by someone's dungeons and dragons facebook fan site and not registrered as an official protest with the government.

"Excuse me officers, we've been here for 20 minutes and there is no direction from the police about whether we should wait or we should turn around."

They replied "Maybe you should wait.. we're bringing more people over."  Then smoke start rising from the middle of the crowd as we are speaking.  "uhhh.. maybe you should turn around instead."  Yah, no shit shirlock.

I go back to my Korean Gypsy Cab and tell him that we need to get out of here.  Only problem is that we are crammed so tight we can't reverse (because crazy parisien woman's car is on our ass), but the car in front of us has an opening to get out that we can follow. 

In order for my Kimchi mobile, to get from point A(Angry pitchfork Mob)  to point B (my home) I need the Mercedes to move.  That can't happen as long as the protestors are in the way. I step out of the car go next to the Mercedes and start directing them to move, while clearing the bystanders in the way.

Now mind you this is a G8 summit protest.  We are #3 in line and the first car is an american stretch limo rental.  The #2 car is a mercedes.  Obviously, those who are in protest of excesses of wealth see them as a target and begin to taunt the drivers.

Some 25 year old drunken french guy with a pre-mature beard and baggie pants starts to block my efforts. "Non Non Non Non... Vous pouvez pas bouger.  C'est un Manifestation (no no no.. you're not allowed to leave, this is a protest)."  The french idea of getting things done via a protest is to piss off as many people as possible.  Not necessarily the ones who they are protesting against (Back to my Pigeon Crap on a lovely spring day theory). 

I tell the guy, "I'm just trying to go home, so I'm turning us all around".  Him and all his other drunk pals in baggy pants start blocking the car too.  "Non Non Non.. this is protest" In a manner that inferred, I was SUPPOSED to be blocked... that's how protests work (duh?).  I think he understands protests as if I were a collective participant in it who just decided to drive his car into the mob in order for it to be inconvenienced for their cause.  And now I decided to leave the party early (your messing with the plan man!).

He stands in my way.  I spread my arms turn my butt to him and start walking backwards to deblock the pepole and  clear some space for the Mercedes to move. 

"You let me go!" he says.  I'm a bit confused because my back is turned to him and no one is grabbing him.  His other little friends start smelling a fight, so they start circling with hungry eyes to direct their pissed off anger at the world, the G8, capitalism, retirement at 62 (still the among the lowest in Europe). I just realized that I'm dressed in a suit, speaking with an american accent, trying to help the mercedes and the limousine get free, and a foreigner.  Remember that Pigeon theory?  I'm just about to get crapped on.

These guys are half drunk little boys so I stand up to them and say we are getting the hell out of this place whether you they like it or not.  The first guy squares off.  He wants to throwdown.  His buddies probably are looking forward to the first thing they are going to break today.  I square off and look the guy straight in the eyes.  You can see it in their eyes that they are thirsty for blood.  You can see it in my eyes that I've had enough of my Triple Grade A crap day.  In fast zippy, pissed off motions, I start pulling off my tie.  I pull off my jacket.  I fold it because it looks like I'm just about to get my hands dirty for a throwdown.  I look to throw my jacket on the ground, but there are too many people around.  These guys are cracking their knuckles.  I head to the car to throw my jacket in with the Korean Gypsy who looks like he is shitting his pants.

I flip open the rear door.  Throw my jacket in like I mean business!..  and I mean business!

Then I open the front door, sit inside, lock the door and hide in the car. 

What am I stupid?  There's an angry, blood thirsty mob of unemployed drunken youths and only two useless police officers who can't even direct traffic 50 yards away!

30 seconds later, the cars behind us started to move in reverse and we started our retreat.

The drunken bearded youths were waiting for me to put my jacket away and come back for the fight.  Hey, Where'd he go? When they realized I was leaving, they were like "Hey, not fair!  Where you going?" with their arms up in the air. 

Ha ha.. piss off you retards.  Fighting me isn't going to make any difference to globalization.

At the end of the day, its just misguided pigeon crap.