Thursday, June 29, 2006

Crazy Metro Behavior

Unfortunately since I live in the ghetto, I spend a lot of time commuting, on the platforms and in the metro, and I do see some crazy things. I endure the two most annoying behaviors (making out in public and people listening to music on their cell phones) more than I can to say; I see unusual behavior (people talking to themselves or to their imaginary friends) on a daily basis; and occasionally I see scary things (people getting mugged, or the homeless trying to "lift" things).

However, what I saw tonight tops the list of my "crazy metro behavior list." The was a female musician singing and playing her guitar on the platform. She was really good and there was a crowd around her enthusiastically applauding and dutifully putting money in her "tip" jar. Her most enthusiastic admirer happened to be a CRAZY homeless guy who works that particular metro station. I see him all the time and he always asks me for money, or at least I assume he asks for money. I never understand what he says; I am pretty sure he doesn't speak French or English or any language for that matter, he just mumbles, laughs, shakes his hand and pulls on his beard. If I was a director and was making a film involving a troll, I would cast him in a New York minute. Seriously, I am sure he would be perfectly at home under a bridge. I have never seen anyone in real life who has looked as fantastical or cartoonish as he does.

Okay, so this homeless troll was cheering on this folksinger like people cheer at sports games. I kind of think he was having some sort of religious experience. Every time she would stop, he would mill through the garbage can he was guarding, abruptly stop and cheer some more. Honestly, he was more of a show than the singer was.

Right before the end of one of her sets, the homeless troll made a big deal of drunkenly strolling up to her. I wasn't sure if he was going to attack her, hug her, ask her for money or what. He didn't do any of those things. Here is the crazy part, he gave her money. A homeless man who is always begging for change gave a street musician money. Irony and bizarre behavior wrapped into one...Thank you, my night is complete.

9 comments:

Expat Traveler said...

oh wow! I thought you were seriously going to say something bad happened... yet that is one crazy thing!!!

Moment said...

that is crazy. I hope your careful riding the metro

Sebastien Blache said...

Only one thing to say: "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite"....!!!!

jennifer said...

this is a great story!

Lotus Reads said...

Angela, the metro sounds like a people-watching haven! Loved the story of the musician and the homeless man, obviously her music really did strike a chord in him.

About people talking to themselves - a couple of weeks ago, our friends returned from a 2 week trip to Paris and they mentioned the same thing! I just put their experiences down to coincidence and now I read your post about certain people "talking to themselves" - is that really very common in Paris? I wonder why?

Intrigued.

Angela in Europe said...

Lotus-Yes there are a lot of homeless people who talk to themselves. I don't know if it is because they are crazy are drunk. I have never lived in a big city, so I just thought having a lot of crazy homeless people was a tragic, yet normal association with heavily populated areas. I think all of my friends who have visited me have been shocked by the homeless though.

Lotus Reads said...

I guess years of hardship, drugs, drink and what not, have affected their mental health. Sad about the homeless - Toronto has its share, but you find them in pockets and not all over the city.

Julie said...

That's interesting -- I always thought France had more of a safety net in the way of social services than the US did. I never realized there were homeless people in Paris.

I agree with expat traveler, I thought you were going to say something bad happened too. Glad it was only strange.

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