Photos from Paris: the Metro

[stextbox id=”info”]My partner Mike and I went to Paris last month. These are shots captured. Also reference the Analog Tweets from Paris series, as this may give you some context. The shots/slides are available to view on Flickr, and are hidden behind a cut so as not to make Livejournal explode.[/stextbox]

There was a lot of cool stuff to be seen on the Metro line, although on the first day it became quite clear why horror movies so like train line setting. Also, all the interesting graffiti went into the death-defying locations, where you wondered how in the hell the tagger avoided horrible death while taking time to spray paint intricate messages in puffy letters. Mike is a huge mass transit geek, and I have to admit that ever since the environment became a personal cause of mine in high school, I’m similarly fascinated with any mass transit – in part because absolutely none was available to me while I was growing up.

I do have to mention that there was a weird and deeply disturbing incident that colored my very first experience with the Metro. When we arrived, it was mid-afternoon and the train had virtually no one on it. Mike and I were crowding into a car with our bags – minimal, but still awkward, and I turned around to face the seat opposite him so I could stretch out a little more. A woman the next car over saw me, and proceeded to start screaming at me in what I assume was French but could easily have been a Slavic language, and making “slit throat” gestures at me. A 20-something close to me understood what she was saying, and gave me a “I don’t know what the hell is wrong with her!” look.

I answered her in English, calmly, but her behavior got so aggressive and threatening that I finally used the horn-finger symbol I’ve heard of Romani using. I’m not proud of that, as I know it’s serious business, but honestly, I didn’t know what else to do, I was worried she was going to get physical, and I did not want to start my tour of Paris with a visit to the policia, especially not as the victim of an assault. I was actually quite traumatized by it for a few days, and was hyper-aware of people inspecting me on the street. To be fair, I did get looked at more than I normally do – where in the United States, one in ever 250 men look at me twice, I got off the plane and was immediately getting 1 in 25. There was also lots of stopping and glaring by French women, and when I made eye contact, most of them actually flinched. Mike insisted he noticed none of this, but c’mon, flinching? He missed flinching from eye contact? We ran into a US American English teacher at a bar on the second day, and I kind of probed him for what might be going on. He just thought that I looked foreign to them, and there were several comments about how my French did not sound American (or remotely French.)

I was wearing a wishbone charm necklace at the time the lady went crazy, and I have had friends from that part of the world tell me that in certain pictures and at certain times I look vaguely Basque. It would have been nice to know what the hell that was all about, just because not knowing made me feel less safe for the duration of my trip.