Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn
22 February Sunday
Sunday is a busy day on the street. The market is open and people line up early to buy meat from the butcher. Up until one o’clock, there are long lines out the door of the bakery and the cafes are full of people having coffee and breakfast and taking their time. There are lots of small children out in their prams and there are even more children running around with their parents. Dogs meet and sniff one another. The supermarkets are open and crowded and the flower vendors and oyster sellers take up more space. The pavements are full and it is difficult to move quickly down the street. It is difficult to move quickly or slowly. It is difficult to move at all.
There are always some people going through the rubbish bins out in front of the supermarkets. Sometimes they arrive at one o’clock as shops and the market begin to close down. Sometimes they are there sooner. I do not think these people are homeless. They are just people for whom times are very very hard. One couple work together. I see them every Sunday and sometimes during the week too. He reaches deep into the bin and hands things out to the woman. She has a box set aside and carefully organizes the things which he passes out to her. Today I saw her line up three carrots, four chocolate puddings in glass pots, a dented tin of cassoulet, bruised apples and two cartons of milk. They are able to gather great quantities of stuff. Much of it is things that need cooking or some kind of preparation so I believe they have a place to go, and a place to prepare their meals.
The homeless people are out too. Some of them are actively begging and some are just sitting on their piles of cardboard and blankets in the location where they sleep each night. There are a few who make music. There are a few with signs. Some have dogs with them. One of the overnight sleepers stores his belongings in the telephone booth on the next block during the day. The phone booth is made of clear glass so his possessions are visible from all sides. They are always neatly folded and stacked about as high as my waist. No one uses the phone booth for anything else these days so it seems only right that he have such good and dry storage. EVH