05 January 2005

"Bonjour Messieurs-Dames... un moment de poésie..."

I've never had to spend much time on public transportation, so a 30-minute metro ride to school every day has been an interesting experience, especially days when traffic is "perturbé." I wasn't terribly surprised to see musicians on the metro (mostly accordions, for some reason), but puppet shows, dancers, karaoke, preachers, and people who tell their life story and ask for money are still a little strange to me. Last week I saw kids dragging a market cart with music to sing to, which is probably the most disconcerting. On the RER, a woman had pins and pens for sale, at the same time when another woman stood up and decided to sing a very pretty song, I'm guessing in Arabic.

I'm beginning to really dislike the accordions, because they really aren't good. They mumble something along the lines of "bunjeurmesserdamz," play atonal renditions of Jingle Bells, and collect money in Carte Orange holders. It's especially strange to see accordion players being escorted off the metro, since metro station music is mostly regulated by the RATP.

The funniest, and the person I see the most, is a man who sells poetry. He boards the train and announces "good day ladies and gentlemen, a moment of poetry." He speaks slowly and clearly, and I can understand most of his description of the beautiful words of Victor Hugo and his request for some money. It's not as annoying as the other metro-people, perhaps because he's funny, not intimidating, and if you do give him money, you'll have a poem to pore over with your dictionary.

Maybe one day, I'll have une petite pièce, and I'll buy myself a moment of poetry. Maybe I won't understand it at all, even with my dictionary, but it'll just be life as usual on the metro.

No comments: