Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Getting Controlled

In France, contrôleurs are agents who check tickets to ensure riders of trains and public transit have paid their fare. To be checked is to be "contrôlé." Being anglophones, it amuses me endlessly that we English assistants we have come to talk about it as being or getting "controlled." What amuses me further is that thought or discussion of getting controlled makes the Joy Division song She's Lost Control pop into my head.

contrôler (cont-troll-ay): to check, to inspect

Back in October my room mate Andrenne and I were controlled for the first time and we didn't have appropriate fare.  It was kind of a scary experience and my heart was racing as the police officers escorted us off the tram to write us up.  Not knowing what to do and not wanting to be fined, we told them that we were new in town and then instinctually pretended not to speak French.  I had never talked myself out of a ticket before (never before having the chance or needing to) but fortunately this time it worked and the police officers let us off with a warning. 

I was relieved, but still shaken from this brush with authority and made sure to have the required fare from then on.

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(image via IMDb)


ANKA said...

Ja, and then I got controlled over 10 times in 7 months, but after that, I was always paid up and A-OK. Those contrôleurs are really active in St. É!

Vanessa said...

I remember what a magnet you were for contrôleurs:-P