Chicken Run

February 14, 2018



The 12:17, no make that the 14:17 to


   With last night’s “steak” still creating gridlock in my digestive system, I realized I’d have to make an effort to work up an appetite for my poulet grande by lunchtime. I might be in the home of the French popes, but Saturday is Saturday, and that’s my wash day. I also hoped doing a load in the common laundromat would provide some measure of exertion toward creating that much desired appetite for lunch. 

   A staff member observed me looking at the directions to pay for and operate the machines, as if they were written in Farsi. The fact that they weren’t written at all, but displayed in a series of pictures that even Lea could follow was nevertheless not helping me. The staffer saw that, and realized I was probably a man who hadn’t done a load of wash in his life. Rather than offer a defense of my normal laundry room capability, I let her lead me through the steps as if I were a three year-old. (I can say in retrospect that had she not been there, I wouldn’t have gotten it on my own.)

chicken run.jpg

   Later, with the wash clean and rolled back into Claude, I sauntered over to the station and on to the 12:17. As it happened, there were two 12:17 departures, mine to Cavaillon, and the other to what I would soon learn was Marseille, in the opposite direction. 

   The first station stop on my train told me something was wrong. Thanks to my trip planner I was able to determine I was in fact on that Marseille train and heading the wrong way.

   The planner helped me figure which was the best station to hop off and return to Avignon with the least amount of waiting. It all resulted in me catching the 14:17 to Cavaillon. But I learned from the experience that with my trip planner app, I would not be lost in space should I ever find myself on the wrong track again. Imagine if real life had an app like that.

   I arrived in Cavaillon at the same time my appetite did, and I bounced with a jaunty step to the little cafe with the big roast chicken.  When the waiter looked at the clock as I asked for a menu, I knew there was trouble. “No menu, monsieur, only club sandwich.” My heartbreak was not enough to curb my appetite, so I ordered the club sandwich, which surprisingly turned out to be a croque monsieur. I guess I didn’t need my menu translator after all in Lyon.

   Back at the train station, the departure screen indicated my train was running five minutes late. Except it wasn’t. Thinking I had that extra time, though, I’d gone back outside to take a picture of the station exterior and of the cafe where, sadly, the chicken was not to be. I suddenly saw a train arriving. It was mine, which evidently was running exactly on time. It marked the only time on this trip I had to run to make a train.

   I spent the rainy evening in the apartment munching the rest of the cheese and sausage I had, along with some wine. I cued up the Beach Boys on Carolyn’s iPod, which I’d brought along with me just in case I wanted music. It was the first time I could bring myself to listen to them since Carolyn had passed.

   I think that might have been the moment when I knew I was going to be all right, and that this trip had been the right thing to do.

   While the Boys harmonized, I perused the Eurail website, and found a global fifteen-day continuous pass that was available.

   I was thinking late March or early April…


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