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Metro Musings: On the 6.


These past few days in Paris have been absolutely gorgeous. For those of you who are here, have you been just relishing in every second of this uncharacteristically warm weather and sunshine? It's nicer now than it was over the summer! These are the kind of days that need to be enjoyed and taken advantage of because the rain will be a-comin'. Not allowing current events and random accusations hold me down, I have been appreciating the beauty that is autumn in Paris.

Yesterday I was treated to an impromptu lunch from a friend. She must have picked up on the fact that I was having one of those days. It's a rare occasion that I don't want to be alone, but yesterday was just one of those days. I really needed some company. For part of the afternoon, she kindly let me hang around her lovely abode where we eventually did a small lunch al fresco on this gorgeous autumn afternoon. Sprinkled with fallen golden and cherry-colored Japanese maple leaves, on her terrace that overlooks her building's communal garden (that no one is allowed to enter), we were ladies who lunched. So rive gauche.

After overstaying my welcome I'm sure, I got going and after a transfer or two, found myself on the metro line 6 heading back home. It's always when I'm bit out of it, and perhaps a little down and out that I have the oddest interactions - and always with strangers. An older gentleman wearing a wrinkled navy blue cotton button down, khakis and fashioning an official badge that he was an official agent for a publication that I have never heard of, hopped on board. Standing several inches in front of the fold down seat by the door that I was sitting on, he was unnecessarily hovering over me in this hardly packed train car. 

"Mesdames, Messieurs, bonjour, here I have a 2013 calendar with pictures, beautiful photos of the cutest, fluffiest baby animals that you have ever seen in your life," he announced to us passengers without a single drop of emotion. "It's important to have a calendar especially with the busy year of 2013 fast approaching. Act now, act now."

"Act now, Act now", when said in complete monotone doesn't exactly trigger a sense of urgency. He then held it up and flipped through the pages, giving us an upside down view of the fluffiest animals we had ever seen...in our lives. The poor guy, while I didn't think he himself cared about the damn calendar or the animals either, he really wanted us to acknowledge him. Sadly, he wasn't getting much feedback from this tough crowd of Parisian commuters. Feeling bad, I discreetly pulled out my wallet to see if I had enough change to purchase one. I was in no way committing, I was just checking to see if I had money.

Because he was only a few inches away, the act of reaching for my wallet caught his attention in which he stopped his commanding and convincing pitch that simply no consumer could refuse, and held his hand out to collect.

A little presumptuous, but okay.

"Mademoiselle, are you interested in purchasing a calendar?" he asked inching in closer.

"Sure," I responded, "How much?"

"We accept donations," he said with a shrug, "Give as much as you can."

Hmm, okay. Flicking through my coin purse with my pointer finger, I saw that I had a 2 euro piece as well as a bunch of loose change. Not wanting to give him 2 euro as I had to pick up bread for dinner, I handed him 75 centimes. For a metro calendar, I thought that was a fair donation.

Well, tell that to monsieur. Snap.

"75 centimes?" he said with a loud chuckle while staring down at what he clearly thought was an insulting offer, "The calendars themselves cost a euro to produce! You try getting a baby kitten to pose like that for 75 centimes, ha!" With that he flashed me the month of July which demonstrated two kittens snuggling in a picnic basket in a field...presumably in July.

He did have a point, they were pretty cute and I know that my cat Charlotte would certainly not have worked for 75 centimes. That wouldn't have even covered her union fees. I really didn't want to give up my 2 euro piece, but like a sucker I forked it over and now have the stupid animal calendar.

When Aurel came home, he found the baby animal calendar hanging proudly on the fridge, displaying the month of January that boasts two little polar bears kissing in the snow. As a peace-treaty for neglecting to pick up a baguette, a bottle of Bordeaux was open, breathing and ready for consumption next to the empty bread basket. I explained the story while he flipped through the calendar and then it hit him!

"Isn't that the weird newspaper that is sold in the metro for people looking for a purpose in life?" Aurel asked while holding up the September centerfold of a leggy giraffe in the jungle.

Since we conduct our relationship in French, from time to time I'm faced with a comment that questions my comprehension. This was one of them. Readers that are looking for the point in life? What does that even mean? And that's a target audience for a publication? Really? Well, no wonder he found me. Mystery solved and now I have a baby animal calendar to remind me of it for the next 14 months. Oy vey!

31 comments:

  1. Ha! I can be the first to comment, as usually there are 125 comments so I think mine would be a waste of time!

    Nice story. I have never seen anybody selling papers for people who are looking for a point to their lives in the Paris metro. Does that mean I have found a point?

    Still you are organised for 2013. It's October and I still haven't got a 2012 yet! Keep using the old one and putting a day on! LOL!

    Love Denise. X. denisefrombolton

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    1. No comment is ever a waste of time! I appreciate every single one of them (as try to write back to each of them!). So I thank you for all of them as well as being the first to comment today! : )

      I don't want to put the name of the publication of the site because I don't want to be mean, but when I asked around several of my French friends, they all scoffed at the thought of the newspaper. I don't really get it but I'll have to buy a copy to get to the bottom of this!

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  2. Baby animals will get you everytime! (that or hot rugby players lol). I have to say though - how on Earth were you on the line 6 and stopped at Invalides? Just how much wine did you guys have at lunch?! ;)

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    1. Ah, I confuse Invalides and La Motte almost every time. I used to live at both during somewhat of the same time period, so I have a tendency to mix them up. Senior moments are happening more often than not. Scary.

      We were good, we had a glass each actually. It really was a nice visit with FN. I really love this time of year! So magical.

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    2. Older and WiserOctober 28, 2012

      'Senior moments' or you have tons on your mind. Don't apologize for messing up Paris metros. Your wedding has been cancelled. I think your plate is full.

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    3. @Older and Wiser - Yes, I would say my plate is full! Ha! Thanks!

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  3. Aww, sorry to hear that you were feeling down yesterday but Finding Noon is the perfect person to pull someone out of their doldrums. It's what she did with me when I was feeling sad last night. Had I known that there was a man selling cuddly kitten calendars on Line 6, I would have jumped on board.

    Thanks to Seb's comment, I'm going to start scouring the metros for newspapers targeted at people looking for a purpose in their lives. That will be my new purpose! As a starting point, I wonder if they sell the newspapers on certain lines and not on others. Nothing much of interest ever seems to take place on my number 10 line.

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    1. "Had I known that there was a man selling cuddly kitten calendars on Line 6"

      Hahahahahaha MK - Je. t.adore. This is getting a literal LOL out of me now because i can just hear you saying it!

      Let me know if you figure out the newspaper...it shouldn't be too hard, look around tomorrow.

      Come to think of it, your metro station is the only one in Paris that doesn't have the Lana Del Rey H&M ads...so maybe yours won't have cuddly kitten calenders. I'm so sorry, MK.

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    2. What can I say? Line 10 is definitely one of the more boring metro lines. We rarely have pickpockets or anything interesting like guys selling cuddly animal calendars.

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  4. Okay, confession, I have my bloggers confused--I was reading this with a picture of The Kale Project lady in my mind (oh, lady may be the wrong word), but it's early in the morning and I'm having tea rather than coffee, so I was at first hearing this in the wrong voice.

    Now that I'm understanding it from Ella rather than K, I get it.

    Seems to me you're set now--purpose in life hanging on your fridge door for the next year. You'll hardly be able to miss it.

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    1. You're having tea over coffee?? Well there's your answer! Get caffeinated with the real stuff! Never rely on tea!

      I'm looking at my life's purpose as I type. I can't see the complete image on the smoochin' polar bears because there's a bottle of wine on the table obstructing the full view...a bottle of wine; my other life purpose. ; )

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  5. yay for Finding Noon to lift you up (of course!) And I love that he didn't want 75 centimes...that is so so funny. It's like the beggar woman that I see everyday get into her friend's Audi after her time of asking for food was over... i know that's not a normal situation but like what?!

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    1. He really was insulted by my mere 75 centimes. I was so embarrassed..and sort of annoyed.

      Wait, for real? You saw a beggar get into an Audi?! I read an article somewhere about a "homeless" dude who made like 75k/year.

      Cray town.

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  6. That is hilarious! Does seb mean like 'the big issue' in London that homeless people sell? I don't buy big issue but probably would buy fluffy calendar.

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    1. I have no idea! I guess every city has their weirdo paper! So funny!!

      I went to the newspaper's website and it's just as budget as the paper itself, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was funded by the city's underprivileged. Maybe they're hiring...

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  7. Wine used to be MY point on life now it seems to be blogging! Maybe I need to read that paper!
    Must look for it when I am In Paris.
    Love Denise

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    1. I think you've found a lovely purpose; blogging. I don't think you'll need the paper!! Come to think of it, maybe I don't either...hmmm. Food for thought.

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  8. Paris weather sounds lovely -- I wish I was there to enjoy it! Sure, it's nice here too but to be in Paris when the weather's phenomenal is such an ideal experience -- with the Fall leaves to boot! I was there last year during Halloween and a few days before and I remember the weather being pretty nice. Ravissant.. *off to check TGV prices*

    Your lunch date sounds so chic. I know what you mean -- always keen to fly solo, for the most part -- then once and a while really having that urge for a girly date (or cray party).

    I wouldn't think too much about that "finding a point in life" aspect (who knows anywho?). It's a calendar with furry, cute animals -- kind-hearted and creative people appreciate cuddly, baby animals. People who appreciate beauty cannot resist either. For 2 euros I would'a snapped 1 (or 5) up myself. I'll buy it from you if you don't want it, Ella.. unless I purchase "Kitties & Titties" instead (http://www.markvelasquez.com/calendars/kitties-and-titties-2013/)... Hmm, decisions...

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    1. What the frick is this calendar?!?! Oh. my. god. You have me laughing so hard right now!!!! Thank you so much for making my day with the craziness! Hahaha!!

      Come to Paris! Please!!! The weather was a bit ick yesterday but the sun is back out today. Come!!

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    2. Haaaa I knew you'd get a kick out of it!

      Yeah I'm tempted to come but job-hunting and recovering from Lasik! ha

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  9. I love your photo; is it yours? If so, can I copy it? If not, can you point me to the original source? This would be a great photo to use in a language course curriculum---it would generate discussion on so many levels.

    Thanks!

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    1. It's not mine, I found it on Pinterest so you're free to take it from here. As for the original source, I couldn't find it. I was just led to another blog who had borrowed it herself. If you end up finding the source with better luck, please let me know. I hate leaving out those details because this photo certainly belongs to someone!

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    2. Thanks; I'll let you know if I track it down.

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  10. " "Act now, Act now", when said in complete monotone doesn't exactly trigger a sense of urgency." Ahahahahaha! No it doesn't. I love your sarcasm.

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    1. It was so dry that no, I did not feel the urge to act now. Hahaha!! I couldn't understand how no one on the train saw the humor in his pitch!

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  11. Nice J.Lo ref in the title. I swear you love her. Very funny post. I need to go to Paris. You have a way of describing the city like no one else. Keep entertaining us!

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    1. I admit I do have this album and I think this will be my "coming out" comment confessing that I love J.Lo. I so do. She is so over the top and ridiculous that I can't help but falling for the whole act.

      Ah, that feels good to get it out!

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  12. I tried to give a beggar centimes once too on the metro and he completely disdained them. He wasn't even selling anything, I just was giving it to him but he wouldn't have them.

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    1. I've had that happen to me too! Or once in NYC, I gave away a packaged wrap to a beggar and he read the nutrition facts and gave it back to me. He said that there was too much salt in it.

      Picky! Picky!

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  13. C'est fou!
    And I love the writing on the metro car "I must not write on the metro?" As in grafitti.
    Oh Paris!
    LOL

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    1. Isn't the photo great? I wish I could say I took it but sadly I did not, nor have I seen this metro car. I'm dying to know more about the story and of course who took the photo, but not much info is out there!

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