Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh No! She di'nt!

Well, yes. Yes, she did.

The woman in the subway did, actually, grab me and start talking frantically as I was about to go through the gate. When I turned around to tell her to back off (I'm staying family friendly--for this sentence at least), she started saying, "It's okay, I go with you." I started yelling that it was not okay and to get away from me. She kept repeating herself, so I pushed her away. As I walked through the revolving gate she yelled, "You don't even know what it's for!" and I yelled, "It's theft!" And we walked away, my hunny asking me what that was all about.

I'm guessing by the nice coat, the fur hat, the big designer purse (no, I don't care if it was empty), that "what it was for" had more to do with getting close enough to take things off my person than getting a free ride on a 1.2 Euro train. But then, I really don't think it matters. I just guess it was prove Leah wrong because she wrote Parisians are nice day.

On the way home this evening, as we were exiting a different subway station, some guy reached his hand through the subway exit doors in an attempt to stop them from closing. Up the stairs there was some sort of commotion with a guy yelling what were rather obviously cuss words even if I don't speak French (my dad will likely counter that one). The woman behind the glass looked like things were about to get pretty ugly. We left fast.

Last night, on the way home, and again in the subway, we came across a group of police surrounding what looked like a small contingent from a school group trip. This seems to be the season for Asian school trips to Paris. We had two in our hotel (yes, they were separate groups). And then there were these.

Some things just transcend language.

Two teenage guys, leaning back on the wall of the subway, with a semicircle of police standing around them, while their older if not wiser chaperon yells into the phone. Two teenage girls looking dowtrodden and disheartened. We sat and waited, partly to watch, but mostly because we didn't want to get on the sardine-packed subway cars that rolled by. We were waiting for something a little less "rush-hour" to float our way. The kids were just the free entertainment.

There came some point at which things turned, and so did the police, marching the four young "thugs" and their rather unhappy looking adult out with police officers along both sides of the moving column. No one was going anywhere. The young bloods strutted out with their heads held high, the girls, in the back, stared at their feet while they walked. I could here one of them thinking about how this looked.

Another "fun" aspect to subway travel here is the musicians. I know I sound like a grumpy old fart, but I am a grumpy old fart. Or maybe, I'd be willing to listen to and even give money to subway musicians if they were any good.

We have so far had the pleasure of two guys with guitars (on separate occasions) playing South American Music. One of them played "Che Guevara." And two accordionists (again on separate occasions). The accordionist in the subway tunnel, to me, is not as much a nuisance as the one in the subway car. First off, he doesn't expect to get paid by everyone lucky enough to have heard him. Second, one can escape. In Paris, one can escape within 2 minutes. But the guy who gets on the car and plays Michael Buble covers, which are, of course, covers, just can't be helped. He finished playing, then wanders around asking people to pay him for what he just did for free--and that's AFTER the Buble punishment! Buble in accordion! Some things should not happen.

The good news about being in a town with mass transit is that it has mass transit. The bad thing is, well, it has mass transit.