Friday, April 08, 2005

Calmly Now

Thursday, packed car, rush hour. Commuters looked wearily at those occupying the seats. Four of the seats were filled by rowdy middle school kids who jumped around the area as if trying to rock the metro onto its side. Disdain clouded adults’ faces. The kids were far too energetic to necessitate seating.

I could read the complaints on the commuters faces: I had to work an eight-hour day. I slept three hours last night. My back hurts. I have to ride fifteen stops.

Soon, one of the boys began screaming, and with each yelp, sprung three full feet into the air. No sooner than I had exchanged a frown with a nearby woman, a man closeby leaned over them.

“Oh! Can you calm down for five minutes?! You’re on the metro, and the metro must be calm!”

The boys snickered, heads hung low. One of them whispered to another.

The man grabbed the culprit by the collar with one hand, and with the other, reached into his jacket. He whipped out a leather business card holder, and shoved his credentials under the boys face. “You little asshole making fun of me? You see who I am? You like that? Want to take this right out onto the quai and talk about it? Oh, not so funny is it now, you little shit? Who’s laughing now?”

The man released the kid and turned back to his newspaper. The pre-teens were silent. Finally, the girl of the group said quietly, “What did it say on the card?”



Anonymous DDJ said...

"You’re on the metro, and the metro must be calm!"

Ha! That is so great, and so true. I think on those little warning placards near the door it actually says, "No eye contact, no talking, no smiling."

What a great fireman. Saving Paris from fires and crude behavior.

4:30 AM, April 10, 2005  

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