notes from an urban hibernation

Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn

The Metal Plate


Porte de Lilas (No.8) was walked in a soft drizzle.  It was a short and almost a completely downhill walk.  Simon slid over a metal trap door sort of thing on a pavement and went crashing down.  A young man rushed over, scooped him up and got him back onto his feet.  Other people ran over to help and to check on his condition.  Two men went on and on and made us promise to write a letter to the Mairie about the danger which this metal plate poses. The plate covers almost the entire area of the pavement.  It is difficult not to step on it.  When it is wet, it is especially deadly. The small amount of texture on the steel plate is not enough to provide a foothold.  They said at least one person falls every single day.  They said old people had fallen and children and every kind of person.  One of the men was most worried that a pregnant woman was going to be the next victim.  It was amazing how much better language comprehension can be when the topic demands such imperative.

Porte de Bagnolet (9) was also walked in the rain.  It had been beautiful in the early part of the day but by the time we set off in the afternoon, the rain turned heavy and was considerably less pleasant than Tuesday’s rain.  We had planned a meander through Pere Lachaise but instead we simply used the cemetery as a direct line shortcut.  Even so, it was hard work and unpleasant to walk over the wet cobblestones.  Several funerals were taking place under dozens of umbrellas..We came out on the street by the main gate to find ourselves surrounded by funeral homes and florists.  It appeared to be a most opportunistic street. Tea and Russian apple cake with a friend on rue de Charonne was a welcome break but then we continued our way home though more terrible downpours and in the dark.  The Porte de Bagnolet walk demanded a complete change of clothes on our return.      EVH


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This entry was posted on January 24, 2014 by .
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