Monday, May 23, 2005

Mother of the Metro

Line 12, Northbound towards Porte de la Chapelle, 11:15am.

Roving, dirty, dog-walking young anarchists frequent the metro in search of money. Today, two of them waited with me on the quai of the Twelve. They shared a beer and stank of alcohol, laughing loudly as they provoked the dog to snarl and pull at their sweater sleeves.

Once on the car, one of them gripped the pole while the other straddled one of the strapontins. The dog lay at their feet. An elderly woman boarded the train and chose a seat across from them.

About ninety seconds into the ride, the pole-gripping one's odor reached me from six seats away. I noticed the old woman covering her nose.

She smiled and waved at the odor, and then spoke to the standing anarchist.

"Doesn't the smell bother you?"
"No, I'm used to it."
"Well, I'm not used to it. You smell horrible! It's filling up the car!"

I expected him to get closer and stick his armpit in her face. Instead, he laughed, and said, "Well, I'm sorry, I guess I never considered it."

Two minutes later, he farted and immediately apologized to the woman. She laughed, waved at the smell and looked to other passengers for support.

Between stops, he approached the door and pulled up on the handle repeatedly, producing loud clicking sounds. The woman reached forward and gave him a little slap on the hand.

"Stop that noise!"
"But I'm making music."
"That's not music, it's disturbing. Just sit down and stop fidgeting. And give me that beer."

He handed her the beer and sat down across from her. When he got up to leave, he said, "Have a good day," to the woman before exiting the car. She shook her head, opened a window and placed the beer under her seat.