Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rush Hour

Short update on the Fifi situation. I don't know how to say "earplug" in French. The words "ear" and "plug" don't quite make sense when combined. I couldn't find them at Monoprix, but couldn't ask the equivalent of, "Excuse me, do you know where the ear socket is?" ...I will investigate, and maybe look into nose plugs, too. As I type, Fifi's smell is wafting in through the window. I'm not kidding. I can't wait until it's cold, for two reasons: Scarves and lessened Fifi smell. Now onto the post.

It had been a long day, I had a ways to ride, and it was rush hour.

These three facts combined meant my competitive pulse was raging by the time the metro pulled into the station. I wanted a seat, bad. But when the train pulled into the station, my two competitors turned out to be two elderly Chinese tourists. Disappointed, I realized I couldn’t fight them.

Okay, so that’s a lie. I was definitely going to fight them. Rules are rules, and I didn’t think these guys were over 75.

But when the doors opened, the two of them bumped me out of the way and were seated before I could even spot the empty seats. The whole thing played out like musical chairs – there was just one person left standing in the car, and that person was me. And that person was sad.

After a few stops, though, a noticed a vacant seat. The vulture standing next to it apparently didn’t want it, so I rushed over and sank down into the spot.

Just a few seconds later, I realized why the woman didn’t want the seat. No sooner than I sat, the eleven year old next to me moved uncomfortably and groaned.

A giant fart sound escaped the seat. I was upset, but I didn’t want to stand.

His classmate started laughing, and the boy complained, “Stop laughing! My stomach really hurts. Aie!”

As he let out that last cry, he jumped again. Again, a loud fart.

I waited for the smell, but it never came. I figured the wind from the tunnel was sucking the smell out the window. So I kept my seat.

“Stop laughing, Thomas, my stomach really hurts, it’s not funny.”


But wait.

The third sound, even as I tried not to notice, sounded strangely similar to the first two. The woman across from me and I exchanged a small smile.

“Are you studying music in school?” I asked them.

“Yes, those are such charming melodies,” she said.

The boys looked uncomfortable. And then they produced the Fart Machine.

“We have tricked you! It is again the great Fart Machine! We are the kings of the Fart Machine on the metro!”

The Fart Machine punctuated the proclamation with another mighty noise. The passengers in the car smiled very small Parisian smiles.

Until the announcement came:

“Hello, passengers, I have to things to tell you, so let’s hope I can remember them both. First and foremost, the next station, that is, the station Abbesses, is closed for renovation. So if you were hoping to descend there, well… you have no luck. Secondly, appearing on my list of things to tell you, on which there are two items, is that the elevators at Lamarck-Caulaincourt are broken.”

The elevators at Lamarck-Caulincourt are broken. The smiles vanished from the passengers’ faces as they remembered the sign at the bottom of the stairs: Warning! There are 112 steps.



At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

Bouchons d'oreille darling. And they cost less than 2 euros for a pair at any pharmacy. Just ask a the counter, since they're usually not out in the store. Isn't this a metro story post?

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Bouchons d'oreille! Of course! I knew that vocabulary at one point... just better not get it confused with boucles d'oreille. Brilliant.

It is a metro story post... I posted it both places. (And yours is up too!)

At 6:21 PM, Blogger lost in france said...

Well, they are commonly referred to as boules quiès -- maybe it was a trademark but it is like saying "coca-cola" or "kleenex". I can honestly say that in years of living here I have never heard someone say "bouchons d'oreille", but then again, maybe I hang out with the wrong crowd ;-)

As to Fifi and the Farting Machine, the only French word I can think of is ... Beurk!

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Lara said...

I'm not going to add any help on french vocabulary. But will you buy me a fart machine. Cause I want to be Fart Queen of Boston. Thank you. and I miss you.

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Samantha said...

I've always heard them called "bouches-oreille".


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