Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I've never loved the métro in Paris, but I've never had a particularly scary experience on it either. I take it daily, eyes fixed on the middle distance not looking at any of my fellow passengers or caring what they wear, look like or do. I try to let people get off before boarding myself, I don't push or tut like some and I generally get to where I want to go with minimum hassle (strikes permitting).
Such a good citizen then surely does not deserve the freakish incident which happened to me on Tuesday evening in the bussle and noise of St Lazare station.
I felt a sharp pinch on my backside as I began to go down the stairs leaving the line 3. I turned around abruptly (not easy with a fold-up push scooter over one shoulder and a duffle bag on the other) to see a girl in a pink hat about my age, in her late twenties, looking at me. Thinking it was obviously not her I asked her if she had seen who it was "Vous avez vu qui viens de me toucher?"
She just stared and I thought maybe she thinks I'm crazy and it was some random guy who's well out of sight by now. So I kept on walking and felt like someone was following me. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it was Miss Pink Hat. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and walked right along to my platform and right to the end of it. Of course there she was behind me. I changed direction and went all the way back to the other end and there she was again.
At this I turned around, looked her straight in the eye and asked her if she was following me and what she wanted. "Vous me suivez? Qu'est-ce que vous voulez"? She didn't respond, just stared at my fold-up scooter (it is rather fetching) and my coat (nothing special) and looked crazier as the seconds went on.
When my metro arrived she was still right next to me so I pretended not to take it and then jumped on at the last minute. When we pulled away her face was almost touching the glass door and her eyes were staring right at me. Crazy Miss Pink Hat was no match for Mr Metro so I managed to rely on my Parisian friend to get me to my destination without further event.
I have now put my unremarkable short beige coat safely in the wardrobe and have pulled out my equally unremarkable long beige coat. I know I can't prevent crazy pinching ladies altogether, but at least I can make it more difficult for them to get their hands on my derrière.