Sunday, December 7, 2008

Metro Moments - Part II

The list of ways in which Non-Parisians can offend Parisians on the metro is lengthy. Today I am going to focus on two key areas where we tend to make mistakes.

The Pole: The pole is designed to be a shared space that several people can grab on to in order to stabilize themselves while the train is in motion. One should NOT use the pole as an accessory for dancing or twirling. Only sweet little girls under five can occasionally get away with this and even then it is frowned upon. One should also, NEVER, use the pole as a footrest.

Do NOT use both hands or LEAN against the pole thus hogging all the room and possibly smashing someone else's hand. Do NOT use both poles at that same time. Passengers should use ONE hand to hold on to ONE of the poles.

On that same note, do not be a hero, use the pole or other available handles while the train is moving. Your natural sense of balance and soft ski knees are no match for an urban metro driver. If you accidentally fall in to the lap of a passenger while holding on to a pole you might be forgiven. However if you bump in to a fellow rider because you were stupid enough not to hold on to the pole, Lord help you.

The Folding Seats: This can be a real point of tension. Use of the folding seats is a treat only to be enjoyed if the train is relatively empty. As soon as the car starts to fill up you MUST surrender your privileged seats so your knees are not driving in to the crowd in front of you. This creates more space for more people to grab on to the bar (using one hand) and pack in around the door.

Misbehaving on the metro can result in a sharp elbow in the back, an exasperated sigh, a dirty look, an eye roll or a nasty combination of these things. Children and tourists are not given any slack.

No comments: