Thursday, April 14, 2005

Where the Metro Lunches

Parisians never eat on the metro. This is a proven fact. I challenge anyone to furnish photographic proof to the contrary (Emily, get to it). When I first moved here I would occasionally wolf down a sandwich jambon fromage between my cello lesson at the Ecole Normale and my art history class in the 14th. But it felt wrong in an odd sort of way. It was like when you’re in an elevator continuing the boisterous conversation you started in the hallway – there’s a pause and suddenly you realize you’ve been behaving like a barbarian. So I stopped eating in the metro.

Sometimes, however, forces beyond your control are conspiring against you.

I spent a brief moment of my life at the bottom of the communications food chain working for a telephone survey company in the southern suburbs of Paris. Needless to say it was a wretched, soul-destroying job, perilously close to telemarketing. It was in Malakoff, at the end of the Thirteen. At lunch hour on my first day on the job (also my second-to last) I was surprised to see everyone leave the office and trek across the road, through a construction site, under an overpass, through a cast-iron gate to a pre-fab block in the middle of a rail yard. The company lunchroom was shared with that of the RATP maintenance workers.

It was early summer. I picked my way across the tracks, gazing at the dark, empty cars stretched out in the sun, the weeds that sprung up here and there, the piles of rail ties and the rows and rows of tracks stretching into the distance off to Paris. Amidst the hulking metal stood the cafeteria building.

I no longer took my lunch underground to the metro. The metro had come up above ground to join me.

7 Comments:

Anonymous helene said...

bonjour,

parlez-vous français ?

11:36 AM, April 14, 2005  
Blogger Emily said...

Oui, bien sur! On travaille en ce moment sur la version francaise de notre site... donc revenez plus tard!

3:20 PM, April 14, 2005  
Anonymous Sierra said...

Hi, met you guys last night and have managed to find my way here. I enjoyed the stories and I'm so with you on the Pole Pirates. I got my hand stuck in someone's hair today and had a hell of job extracting myself gracefully. :-)

12:49 AM, April 15, 2005  
Anonymous Lauren said...

We used to go on family holidays in Cornwall and stay in an old converted railway carriage. Not quite lunch in the metro.

8:14 AM, April 15, 2005  
Blogger Nicolas said...

Converted railway carriage?! Tell me more! Post pictures!

7:06 PM, April 15, 2005  
Blogger CaptainNavarre said...

Now that you mention this, I am not sure whether I ever saw someone eating on the metro... Kind of strange huh...

Content de vous avoir rencontrés tous les deux à la soirée "Paris Blogue-t-il?" ! :)

11:50 AM, April 16, 2005  
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9:09 AM, October 22, 2005  

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