Roughly 14 million inhabitants in Paris (and the surrounding suburbs) make public transport commuting during rush hour a nightmare. It’s not only the enormous number of people, but also the unnatural increase in temperature once inside the trains. On average, it seems like there is a guaranteed 10C increase in a sweltering dusty packed train.
At precisely 6:33pm on the 11th of October 2005, under scientifically controlled conditions, I performed the “how-jam-packed-can-it-get-on-a-train” experiment. This consisted of lifting my feet off the floor to see if I could stay suspended between the hot and sweaty bodies. Almost everyone I know has his or her own “it was so packed” crowd story. You know, the one that goes: “it was so packed that I could almost lift my feet off the floor and remain suspended”. But how many people ACTUALLY try it??
Well, I did. For a very very brief minute, I brought both my feet off the ground and actually stayed suspended between a wild blend of stale “attempt-to-cover-nasty-knock-an-elephant-dead-armpit aroma” perfume, raw unprocessed body odour and several uncomfortably scratchy woollen suits.
Ok, it wasn’t one whole minute, it was more like a split second of a split second. I didn’t want to push my luck, the risk was too great that I would slip and slide to the floor while my glistening face plunged nose-first into the sweat-stained armpits that I was facing (life is hard when you’re short).
Anyway, the point is, I managed to do it! I can now say that public transport in Paris during peak hour is so packed that one CAN lift their feet off the ground and stay suspended between the tightly crammed Parisians.
What’s scarier is this article in The Age today.
The Age 11/10/2005
I wonder what my FFH (Freaky French Husband - let’s call him Pepé to protect his identity), Pepé, has to say about these findings?