Sunday, April 15, 2007

Trafic perturbé

In a sprawling city like Paris, it’s easy to get lost, and also to lose yourself in the mass population that lives here. It’s also easy to ignore the poverty and the extreme homeless population that lives anonymously behind the glitz and glamour that is Paris.

Taking the metro almost daily, we’re familiar with the trafic perturbé à cause du voyageur malade (disrupted traffic due to sick passenger) messages. For me, this message conjures up images of some old lady feeling a little faint on the metro. Last weekend however, we found out first hand what this message actually means.

We hopped onto the metro to see a man (judging from appearances, this man appeared to be homeless) slumped out on the floor of the metro of the carriage…slumped on the floor between the seats with food spilled around him. Slumped, not as in taking a nap but slumped in a way that you would never hope to be.

If you’ve ever been to Paris, you’d know that the metro is not one place that’d you’d like to be on the floor. Between the inches of bacteria, thick dust and sticky pollution, there’s only more bacteria, dust and sticky pollution.

Anyway, after making sure that he was still breathing, for the lack of knowing what to do, at the next stop, we jumped off and ran to the front of the metro to stop and warn the driver before he could take off again.

How long had he been lying there? There were other people in the carriage when we got on. How long had they been ignoring him? Did they just think that he would sleep it off?

The only thing that restores my faith in humanity is that when we ran to stop the metro driver, someone else ran with us.

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