June 11, 2011

space wars

I spend a lot of time in public transportation. For the most part, I love it. It gives me time to read, listen to new music, people watch, think about things I want to do, think about things I don't want to do and just generally sit and do nothing until I reach my destination. It's great.

...but. I have my beef with the Parisian metros sometimes. Let me rephrase that: I have my beef with Parisians. Period. I get my fill of them when I'm making my way through the city by metro. There's kind of a personal space issue - the issue being they don't need it and I do. I need more than the average person maybe. My personal bubble is constantly being permeated by people here on a daily basis on the sidewalks, in stores, waiting in lines, but especially on the metro. Whether the metro is crowded or not, I can never escape people bumping up against me, sitting half on my lap half on their seat, stepping on my toes, and the list goes on. The worst, in my opinion, is when I want to get off of the metro, there's no courtesy space allowing people to exit the metro car - people just crowd around on the platform and charge once the doors open. This annoys me to no end. It's hectic, annoying and sometimes painful to get out when you're facing a sea of pushy Parisians. In my head, it looks like this...me vs. everyone:

That's just trying to exit. Let's talk sitting for a 30-minute commute with strangers all up in your business. A few months ago, I had one of my most awkward metro moments ever because I became personally involved in a scenario dealing with a guy across from me falling asleep. It was cramped, like always, and my metro neighbor was reading a book and simultaneously falling asleep. I didn't have an issue with this until his book started to get lower...lower....lower...and now it's resting in my lap. So I had this inner struggle for a while. 
"Do I wake him up? Do I move the book? If I move the book will I accidentally wake him up? Maybe he needs sleep. I should let him be. But what if my metro stop comes before his and I try not to wake him up and his book falls on the floor? He'll lose his page. Maybe I could memorize the page number so when he does lose the page I can remind him what page he was on. Maybe he'll miss his metro stop. Should I ask him when he wants to wake up?" I mean, really, a ridiculous dialogue in my head but I felt personally involved once his book was sitting in my lap. You might think I'm crazy for even wondering about these things, but I once saw a woman reach across into another woman's purse because her metro neighbor's cell phone was ringing and she couldn't find it fast enough. I guess she thought she was being helpful, although I thought she was walking a fine line between looking helpful and looking like a straight up thief. Strange things happen on public transportation. I get sucked in.

Last week I was sitting across from a guy who was chewing his gum like a horse. Naturally, it fell out of his mouth and tumbled onto my knee. Seriously? Seriously.

So what's a girl to do when she's had enough of people invading her space? Pack up and head to the country, that's what. A short and sweet trip to the Burgundy region of France with more space than I knew what to do with in the company of five of my amazing friends. If I was any more relaxed, I would have slipped into a coma. The house belongs to the parents of my friend, Ben - it's their summer house located about three hours southeast of Paris...with more space than I could ever ask for!

I'm not posting these pictures to make you jealous. Ok, that's a lie. 

Oh, and Martha Stewart, eat your heart out:
Me, Nora, Ben, Adam, Evan and Shauneen at very old church in a nearby town
Entrance to the house
Walking around enjoying the space because we can
Inside the house
We ate every meal outside
I just don't think anything beats French bread
From left: Evan, Shauneen, Ben, Me and Adam.
I'm not gonna lie, we spent a lot of time here
turning into prunes
Ben's preparations for the delicious meal he made for us all
Before devouring it in 5 minutes flat
Dinner by candlelight
The building in the back has a wood-fire oven inside for making bread and pizzas...I'm going to need one of those someday
Ben's family's super old car...that still works!
Fresh lavender
Walking around the small village
Getting our daily dose of fresh berries
The cows migrated over towards the pool at the end of the day...
...and they got pretty close to us

Kicking and screaming, we returned to Paris to face another week. Nobody was ready to leave. But as of yesterday, finals are over and my summer break officially started today. I'm looking forward to traveling a little bit, relaxing a lot and getting ready for my last semester of grad school this fall. Where has the time gone?!