Parisian Youth No More

RIP student metro pass...
A lot of older people always say they “feel old” when surrounded by younger people, that suddenly life is put into perspective, that their remaining days seem markedly more numbered, that they remember their youth with longing and desire.

To me, that's bull.  I live next to a daycare and I never feel old.  Still, with the constant shouts of three-year olds while I’m trying to watch last night’s Downton Abbey, these younger people make me want to enforce a permanent nap time during the day, Gestapo style.  There's very little reminiscing going on when Maggie Smith is being muffled by joyous younglings.

Latent crotchety tendencies aside, I am hardly long in the tooth, though I recently did come face to face with the fact that, yes, indeed, I am aging.  Unfortunately it may make some people still feel old, but, ya know…

The enemy is one we all know well: the Paris metro.  The public transit system is increasingly expensive, with a ten-pack of tickets now costing over 13 euros.  I never had to worry about this because this youngster and eternal student could get the student metro pass, called the Imagine-R.  For about half the price of a regular Navigo pass (now at 34 euros a month), I had unlimited travel between zones 1 and 2.  And with a super-efficient system with few true faults, that’s what we call in France a steal.

So when renewing my pass this January, I sent off the required documents as I had in previous years, not thinking anything of it.  I waited for the pass to be activated, but these things took time, I thought.  Then a letter came in the mail.

To sum it up, with a loose translation:

Sir (already…),

Sorry, but you’re too old for a Imagine-R pass.  It’s only for students who are under 26 years old when they start their academic year.  You’re aching back and penchant for Friday night’s watching reruns of the Golden Girls leads us to believe that this is not the case with you.  Also, you wrote your birthday down, and we can do the math.  Cool, well, have a great day!

Again, a rough translation, but that was basically it.  Thanks, Julie, for ruining my day.  You sound like a real trip.

On the upside, the national train system, the SNCF, has changed their youth advantage card.  The formerly Carte 12-25 is now the Carte 12-27, winning me an extra year of cheaper tickets to wherever I want to go in France!

This perk aside, I’m still bitter that I lost this benefit and that my waning memory forgot to remember this detail of my age.  I’ll deal.  Still, far from a wake-up call, I am the slightest bit sad to be entering that no-man’s zone in France where your age wins you fewer perks.  If any.

I guess it’ll have to be enough that I’m in France.  Little recompense but I’ll take it I suppose…