Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Rush hour, Line 12.

It had been a long day, I had a ways to ride, and it was rush hour.

These three facts combined meant my competitive pulse was raging by the time the metro pulled into the station. I wanted a seat, bad. But when the train pulled into the station, my two competitors turned out to be two elderly Chinese tourists. Disappointed, I realized I couldn’t fight them.

Okay, so that’s a lie. I was definitely going to fight them. Rules are rules, and I didn’t think these guys were over 75.

But when the doors opened, the two of them bumped me out of the way and were seated before I could even spot the empty seats. The whole thing played out like musical chairs – there was just one person left standing in the car, and that person was me. And that person was sad.

After a few stops, though, a noticed a vacant seat. The vulture standing next to it apparently didn’t want it, so I rushed over and sank down into the spot.

Just a few seconds later, I realized why the woman didn’t want the seat. No sooner than I sat, the eleven year old next to me moved uncomfortably and groaned.

A giant fart sound escaped the seat. I was upset, but I didn’t want to stand.

His classmate started laughing, and the boy complained, “Stop laughing! My stomach really hurts. Aie!”

As he let out that last cry, he jumped again. Again, a loud fart.

I waited for the smell, but it never came. I figured the wind from the tunnel was sucking the smell out the window. So I kept my seat.

“Stop laughing, Thomas, my stomach really hurts, it’s not funny.”


But wait.

The third sound, even as I tried not to notice, sounded strangely similar to the first two. The woman across from me and I exchanged a small smile.

“Are you studying music in school?” I asked them.

“Yes, those are such charming melodies,” she said.

The boys looked uncomfortable. And then they produced the Fart Machine.

“We have tricked you! It is again the great Fart Machine! We are the kings of the Fart Machine on the metro!”

The Fart Machine punctuated the proclamation with another mighty noise. The passengers in the car smiled very small Parisian smiles.

Until the announcement came:

“Hello, passengers, I have to things to tell you, so let’s hope I can remember them both. First and foremost, the next station, that is, the station Abbesses, is closed for renovation. So if you were hoping to descend there, well… you have no luck. Secondly, appearing on my list of things to tell you, on which there are two items, is that the elevators at Lamarck-Caulaincourt are broken.”

The elevators at Lamarck-Caulincourt are broken. The smiles vanished from the passengers’ faces as they remembered the sign at the bottom of the stairs: Warning! There are 112 steps.



Blogger lost in france said...

Hmmm. Something tells me that you have never lived in New York and that, quite possibly, you are entirely too polite.

6:25 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Nicolas said...

Again, Emily's southern charms are stymied by Parisian brutality...

7:44 PM, October 03, 2006  
Blogger liddyloo said...

Haha. None of this would have happened on the tube in London. The kids would've probably been glared at menacingly or told to 'shut it' by some burly woman. I love your comments- although I am ashamed to admit I had to look up 'stymied' in the dictionary.

5:28 AM, May 26, 2007  

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