The other day I was travelling between classes and reached Esplanade de La Défense. As I entered the metro, I decided that I didn’t have enough time to buy a sandwich from the Bonne Journée (French bakery chain) in the station. I validated my Navigo and went down to the platform, where my train was leaving.
There were three minutes until the next one.
Being rather hungry, I ran back up the stairs and out the gate to the Bonne Journée where I bought a poulet crudités.
When I returned to the gate of the metro, I touched my Navigo to the reader. “Passe déjà validé,” it read.
I couldn’t get through.
Not to worry – this had happened to me before.
Rather than try jumping over the gate, I bobbed down and scuttled under it. The structure of this gate was in two parts – first, there was one of those turning gates with three bars. Next there was a gate like a door. Having gotten past the turning gate, I pushed the door.
It wouldn’t open.
I was stuck between two gates, and I couldn’t open either of them.
I pushed the door experimentally. It budged about half an inch. I looked at the space between the door and the neighbouring gate. 15cm? Maybe 18? My arm would definitely fit through, and my leg (below the knee), though I wasn’t sure about the rest of me.
Oh what the hell – I had a class to reach. I slid one arm through, then a shoulder, then a hip. As I stood with the edge of the door running down the centre of my body, I saw a man watching me in amusement from the other side.
I couldn’t get stuck now. I gritted my teeth and wriggled through.
“Vous avez la bonne chance d’être petite,” he said.
I grinned and trotted down the stairs, slightly short of breath with a distinct ache in my breastbone, reaching the platform as the next train arrived.