Monday, 21 September 2009

Things to miss, things to share

There are experiences I’m glad to miss, others that I’m sorry not to witness.

In the first category was an incident a week or so ago when the driver of a French high-speed train (the famous TGV) saw the body of a man lying between the rails ahead. He couldn’t avoid running over him and, indeed, by the time he’d been able to stop, the driver had to walk back nearly a kilometre to investigate.

Quelle horreur! With what dread he has must have walked back up the line. Not something I would have liked to have to share.

To his relief, what he found when he got to the spot was not a dead body but an apparently unhurt but completely drunk young man in a semi-comatose state. He’d come close to giving a whole new meaning to the concept of ‘dying for a drink’.

Neither the driver nor the emergency services when they arrived were able to wake him, although at one point the young man did come round on his own, just long enough to open an eye and stick a finger up at the crowd around him. He then passed out again.

In Britain, we like understatement. I therefore particularly appreciated the response of the police to the event. They announced that they were going to give him the time to sober up and then invite him in to give, as the French expression has it, ‘explanations’ of the events that led to his being found unconscious on a TGV line.

Now there’s an experience I’m sorry to have had to miss. What fun it would have been, don’t you think, to be a fly on the wall during those explanations?

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