Avignon is a rather dull, boring place. Nothing much to report.
Instead, I’ll share a story.
I’ve been writing a paper and there’s been this mathematical thing that has been confusing me and that I haven’t really been able to figure out. Well, I was passing by Université d’Avignon in the city centre and I thought that if I just had a chalkboard, and a little bit of time, I could figure out the problem. So I went into the university, found an empty room with a chalkboard, closed the door, set my bag down and went to work. And I figured it out!
I opened the classroom door to leave, and the hallway was dark — no lights. Apparently the building had been shut down while I was working away. When I stepped out of the classroom, motion sensors went off or something, because the alarm started sounding. I made my way to the front door of the building and tried to leave, but it was locked. Then I went to try the back door — it was locked. Now other alarms were sounding from attempting to open locked doors. I thought: why on earth in a public building would you lock the doors from the inside so that people can’t leave?! Then I saw the old, expensive paintings on the wall and it sorta made sense. It really did feel like I had broken into a museum. I saw the security office, so I went, knocked a few times — no one was there. I was locked inside this building.
I figured that since the alarms were sounding, eventually someone would have to come and then I could get out of this damn place. So I sat down, waited. Waited a while. Alarms still sounding. Waited a little bit more.
Then I decided that I should figure a way out on my own. I went to the front door again. There were two sets of doors. The first was a pair of modern glass doors, the other pair (which I could see through the glass) was big, wooden, heavy and looked 500 years old. I figured that the wooden doors couldn’t be locked from the inside because it was just too old for that, and so all I had to do was get passed the modern glass doors. The lock looked very strange, nothing I’d seen before — a lever of some sort. I lifted the lever, like when I first tried, and confirmed that it was locked. Okay. But I pushed hard this time as I lifted to see if I could force the door open — and indeed, it wasn’t a strong lock on the door, so if you pushed hard enough a little gap would appear and you could imagine breaking the door open if you really wanted to. Of course I was in enough trouble so I didn’t want to break anything. So I gradually pushed harder and harder, but only ever so slightly, to see if I could force open the door without breaking the lock. And it worked! The door opened, lock unbroken.
So I got through the first set of doors. I wanted to leave everything as it was, so I tried to close the glass doors behind me, but I couldn’t because the door was still locked, you see, so it wouldn’t close properly. Oh well, I thought. Alarms are still sounding, by the way. The second set of doors — the big wooden ones — were easy to open, just as I thought.
So I exited the building and outside it was completely deserted. Except, of course, for the security jeep that was about to leave and lock the gate to the university campus. (If I had come out a few minutes later I would have had to figure a way out of the locked gate!) The jeep was about to leave (I have no idea why the alarm didn’t notify them) when I guess the guard saw me, because they immediately reversed the car to where I was, rolled down the window, irritatingly asked me something in French, to which I said “do you speak English?”, to which they frustratingly said “aller!” So I went.
It was a lot of fun.