Saturday, April 30, 2005

Change Tunnel

Metro Chatelet. One of the long tunnels connecting trains.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Crazy Person #57 (My Future Self)

Line Twelve, Northbound toward Porte de la Chapelle

Sex: Male
Age: 40+

Crazy Person #57 gets on the train and slumps down into one of the fold-down seats across the way. He looks fairly unhappy in the flourescent light, but soon after coasting into the tunnel, he catches a glimpse of himself in the window.

He scrunches up his face and puckers his lips. The reflection is hilarious; the man laughs uncontrolably. Once he calms down, he raises his eyes again into the window. This time, he sticks his fingers in his ears and fills his cheeks with air. His double copies; the man laughs and hoots, looking to the other passengers for confirmation.

I smile at my hands. He points at my face, yells, "I saw teeth!" and clutches his dirty hat to his belly as it shakes with laughter and the rocking of the train.

We ride just one stop together, but I think: if I were going to be a Crazy Person, I'd surely want to be #57.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Space Makers

Rush hour in the Paris metro is not for the faint of heart, nor for the
claustrophobic. On a bad day you can find yourself glued between someone’s gut and someone else’s briefcase. The smell is fearsome. What’s needed is a good way to make some space for yourself, an efficient way to take up more than your share of square centimeters.

This was no problem when I was a music student. Traveling around with a cello can be a real pain – but a cello makes for a damn effective battering ram, I can tell you that much.

I no longer travel much with my cello so I’ve decided that henceforth the thing to do is carry around a stroller. Not too heavy, folds conveniently after I’m done riding. I have no children, nor do I know anyone who could lend me a baby, so the plan is to put a fake baby in the stroller – I'm thinking maybe a Cabbage Patch doll - and ram the sucker into the car. Instant space maker. I’ll have space to breathe, won’t have some stranger’s stomach or crotch glued to my face. Of course, I’ll keep the plastic rain cover down over the stroller so nobody notices that I’m a faker, but just for good measure I’ll lean over and coo to the plastic doll every now and then.

If I’m lucky maybe people may even give up their seats for me.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Metro Meat

Hungry? Pick up a traditional sausage. Just stay away from this guy... as his face clearly shows, he's not so friendly.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bicycle Metro

You can’t usually take a bicycle into the metro. Sometimes on off hours, though, you get lucky and the station attendant will let you in through the gate.

The metro was the way to get home - there was only one bicycle between the two of us, it was 5:30 AM and we were totally exhausted after a night of dancing. Late August. I was with Gilles, the boy who converted me to the wonders of cycling in Paris. We lugged the bike down the stairs, the back wheel thumping and bouncing lightly on each step.

I looked up at the display panel to see in how minutes the first train would be coming. The number 26 flashed away without mercy: blink, blink, blink… The platform was uninhabited. We both sat down. We both promised to stay awake to make sure nobody came along to steal the bike. We both promptly fell asleep.

Twenty-six minutes later, the first metro slid into the station, ready to transport us northward, ready to carry us to the front door of my apartment, where Gilles would lean in to kiss my cheek and where I would reach around to squeeze his waist, ready to sweep us into my bed, ready to take us back to the private, closed space of my apartment where it would become rapidly clear that we had no business dating one another.
Thanks metro.