April 2, 2010

Departure from form

Running from shots is an ancient tradition and a fairly good example of common sense. Naturally, the first shots were flung from slings and primitive men ran from the stones cast at them by theirs enemies. Something of this ancient tradition can still be seen today, in sporting events for instance: in athletic races, a resounding shot is fired and ancient hardwired atavisms suddenly impel runners forward with the promptness of startled rabbits.

This, while hopefully interesting, is only tangentially related to the matter at hand. The matter at hand is the departure of TGVs, which is announced not by the firing of a shot, but by the ringing of a bell not unakin to that used in horse races to spur riders and steeds to exit the starting boxes or students from slumber and classes.

I was briskly walking to the head of my train when a TGV’s departure bell rang. A young woman’s peal of laughter was almost immediately followed by the sound of hooves clattering on the platform. I turned around to see a beautiful dappled mare gallop past me a ways and stop. An elegantly dressed and slightly winded young lady laughed giddily as she waited for her lover to catch up and then they walked on arm in arm.