Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How Do You Say "Random" in French?

When you live in a big city like Paris, you tend to see a lot of bizarre things. The simple act of walking down the street can make you think you've entered the fourth dimension. People doing odd things, signs with odd messages, strange objects found in surprising places and even strange events can pop into your life when you least expect them. Paris seems to be an especially good place for out-of-the-ordinary occurrences, and I'm convinced that I've had more than my fair share of unusual sightings these past few months.

One of these memorable sightings occurred just two weeks ago. While walking in the St. Michel neighborhood, I noticed a row of rather small bikes painted neon pink, which were out of place enough to make me stop and take a picture. Now, the only thing weirder than seeing a gang of pink bikes is seeing them twice. In the same week. In completely different neighborhoods. Coming across them again near the Galeries Lafayette, I had to wonder just what they were all about. But without any visible owners nearby, and without any time to sit and wait for them to come back, the bikes will remain a mystery.

Seeing strange objects is fun, but seeing people doing strange things is even better. Of course, I usually don't like to be too close to them while they're in the act (that just makes me nervous!), but I love watching from afar. Take these two guys, for example. I spotted them while standing near the entrance to the Père-Lachaise cemetery. For reasons surely known only to themselves, they were pushing a couch across a busy 4-lane intersection. At one point they stopped for awhile in the middle of the road right in the path of oncoming traffic and took a minute to sit and relax on said couch. Then, they simply continued to push the couch down the street. Were they moving? Trying to find a dumpster? Just out for fun? I'll never know, but couches being pushed down city streets is definitely not something you see everyday.

We tend to go through our days locked into our own little worlds. With our heads down we are focused on our tasks at hand, often giving little notice to events around us. Imagine all the crazy things we are missing! Next time you're in Paris take a minute to look around. No, not just at the obvious things like the monuments and the museums (although you'll definitely want to see them too), look at the people and things around you that you usually would just rush past. In a city where anything can happen you never know what you'll see next.


Christine Gilbert said...

I wonder if they have free bike program? And paint them pink so no one will steal them?

Anyway, great post, I love the pic of the guys sitting in the middle of the street.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had the chance to travel right now =[ I like your blogs.

Tanya said...

disorderlymess: Thanks for the comment! Glad you like the blog. What's keeping you back from traveling?