Métro people #52,446


I was sitting where I normally sit on the métro - on a folding seat at the back of the métro carriage, facing forwards. I like sitting there because I feel like I'm out of the way of other people. I'm sure that we all have the places we prefer to sit, for a variety of reasons.

At the stop after mine, a lady of a certain age got on the métro carriage, carrying two bags and wearing a giant red coat. Despite there being plenty of free seats available (facing both forwards and backwards), she immediately placed herself in the tiny space between me and the guy on the other folding seat at the back of the carriage. She placed her two bags on the floor and proceeded to spend a good five minutes removing her coat, rearranging her scarf, huffing and sighing and pouting all the while.

At one point I absently reached up and tucked some hair behind my ear with my right hand. My elbow was out and she deliberately leaned into it - "pardon!" I exclaimed. She just glared at me.

For a full twenty-three minutes she stood between the guy on the other folding seat and myself. I watched the carriage fill up slowly with people, then empty out again as we passed through a métro hub. At the twenty-three minute mark, she let out an enormous sigh (several people turned around to look at her, she was so loud) and sat down just across from me. She spread her belongings out on the folding seat beside her, and proceeded to glare at me and the guy next to me. I bowed my head slightly and glanced at him quickly - he rolled his eyes and sat there quietly, a small smile playing in the corner of his mouth.

At the next stop, I collected my things, got up and stepped off the carriage, looking back briefly to see that she was still glaring at me.

I chuckled. Out loud.

I know I've seen her before. She does the same thing every single time - stands stubbornly waiting for one of us to get up (which has never happened, that I can remember). I don't see the point in giving her my seat when there are SO many other seats available (especially since she's not elderly, nor does she appear incapacitated in any way). And en plus, every single time I've seen her, at a certain point in the trip, she sits down in a spot which is clearly unsatisfactory to her, and heaves a giant sigh.

Lady of the 5th

A voluptuous blonde in her late fifties walked into Franprix, the local supermarket, and said a husky "bonjour". 

Everyone, EVERYONE, turned around to look.

As many times as I've heard people say "bonjour" when they enter a doctors waiting room in this country, I've never heard someone utter "bonjour" when they enter a supermarket. 

Who was she saying hello to? 
This was a lady who was used to being noticed.

The woman at the cashier snorted, then glanced at me to make sure I wasn't offended. I grinned and winked back.

The blonde sashayed down the aisles until she arrived at the dog food section.

Of course.

I'd been so distracted by the big hair that I hadn't noticed the shivering dog in her handbag.

The 5th arrondissement of Paris is a colourful place.

Like an elephant

"You're thumping like an elephant!" 

My dad said this at least once a day as I was growing up. Running across the floorboards from one end of the house to the other - a jumble of elbows and legs as we skidded around corners and raced through the hallway to land, giggling, on the couch - my sister and I probably did sound somewhat similar to that scene from the Lion King when the herd of wildebeests stampeded across the plains of Africa.

As I head down the corridor to the photocopier and back again, I arrive at my office, aware that I've been walking rather heavily. "Thumping like an elephant" runs through my head and the last few steps back to my desk are dainty, like a ballerina, as I apologise to my dad in my head. I plop into my chair, determined to walk less like an elephant next time. 

Inevitably however, unlike the elephant who never forgets, I do forget, and I continue thumping, and the cycle continues. With only slightly less giggling.

La rentrée

La rentrée. 
A new start. A reboot. For many things.
Exciting new projects. 
Looking at myself, inside and out, making changes.
There's always room for improvement.
Finding inspiration in the many creative, talented people in my life.
Who I'm lucky to have in my life.
Enjoying this time, this place, for what it is.
Throwing myself in headfirst.
Making a fool of myself, perhaps.
Laughing a lot.
A step forward.

Pink slippers


When I was younger, several of my girlfriends took ballet classes after school in the town hall. I was absolutely green with envy and was convinced that if only I was given the chance to realise my dream of joining these ballet classes, I would surely become the most amazing ballerina the world had ever seen.

But I wasn't allowed to take ballet classes. And since I was also convinced that if only I was given the chance to realise my dream of joining the netball team, I would surely become the most amazing netballer the world had ever seen, I had to pick my battles. Official ballet lessons were not to be, and I worked hard at learning how to actually catch a ball. A skill which, at 10, I was still trying to master. Hand-eye coordination has never really been my strong point.

I didn't forget about my potential as a ballerina, and I tried to teach myself various moves using the infallible Debbie learns to dance as a reference. I so admired the way that Debbie and her classmates stretched and posed.

Of course, I needed the right equipment. Leotard. Check. (it was the late 80s after all). Leggings. Check. Flowy skirt. Check. Ballet shoes. That was a bit harder... But I was tenacious and wasn't about to let the fact that I had no proper ballet shoes stop me from dancing when I knew this was meant to be.

So I improvised.

I had a pair of pink slippers. They were velvety to the touch, fit firmly around my feet, and featured a practical plastic sole for those moments when I needed to run outside and didn't have time to kick off my slippers. They were the obvious choice for the magnificent dance routines I would make up and practice on for hours on end in the sunroom.

From the moment I put my pink slippers on, I felt like a dancer. A ballerina. In my mind, the practical plastic sole melted away and soft pink ribbons were laced up to my knees. The spotlight shone on me and I could almost hear the crowd roar.

If you were to throw Richard Marx "Right here waiting for you" into an old cassette player and pressed Play, I would be able to show you an entire routine that I worked on for months, and remember, to this day, right down to the very last step.

We should probably count ourselves lucky we don't have any old cassette players lying around.

Of ponies and tails


We waited for the bus at the end of the driveway. The shadows were long, early in the morning. Everything had a shadow. The mailbox. The pine. Us.

I was fascinated by my shadow, and would examine it carefully as it changed. Look at it now - with my hands on my hips, standing on one leg, sideways, crouching.

But, of course (being that it is me), there was something that traumatised me in all of this.

When I stood sideways, you could see my ponytail, perched high on my head in the shadow. But when I stood normally, you couldn't see my hair - the shape of my head was the only thing visible.

My thoughts immediately ran as thus :
When I wear a ponytail, can people not see that I have long hair?
Long hair is OBVIOUSLY the ONLY thing that marks me as a girl!
Would people think I am a boy?
OMG people might think I am a boy.

There was only one solution to all of this.

I pushed my ponytail around a bit, so it was just off-centre. When I examined my shadow again, I could finally see evidence of my ponytail.

I jumped on the bus, swinging my ponytail as I walked up the aisle to my seat, satisfied in the knowledge that no one would mistake me for a boy.

Even if it was the eighties, with my wonky ponytail that wasn't quite centred but wasn't quite on the side enough to be called a side ponytail (à la Madonna), I must have looked like a right dork.



He looked harried, standing there in the middle of the street, with a suitcase at his feet and a laptop bag slung across his shoulders.

He held a dozen little white strips of cardboard, which he was sniffing, one by one. Perfume samples, from a beauty shop just a few steps away.

Was he on a business trip, trying to grab a last minute gift for a loved one - his partner, his secretary, his mistress - back home?

I smiled at him as I walked past. He glanced up at me, then went straight back to sniffing his perfume samples.

Sylvain is heading to Sweden again in a few days. When he comes back from this type of trip, he brings me delicious oatmeal biscuits. Smoked salmon. Cheese. Fluffy blankets.

I prefer to choose my own perfume. Bring me back food and locally made products any day.

Although I suppose if I lived in another time, in another place, perfume from Paris would be pretty darn special. Maybe just as special as smoked salmon from Sweden.



I wrote journals throughout many of my high school years. My dad told me that he has most of them shrink-wrapped and sitting in the attic. "Do you want them?" he asked, when we were home over Christmas. "No, keep them there, I don't want to read them." I replied, very quickly. The idea of exploring my teenage head is slightly nauseating.

At lunch today, I circled the stand of pens at the bookshop for 20 minutes. I couldn't decide.

I wanted something that writes nicely. Not too big. On the smaller side. One that won't leak all over my handbag if the lid slips off. It has to look nice, but not too girly, and not too utilitarian.

Then there was the choice of a journal. You don't want to know how long that took.

I have decided to write again. Really write. Write more than I can write on here, for many different reasons - to explore my creativity, to experiment with my writing, to exercise my mind, to consider some really personal questions. I want to write stuff that is crap, but to be able to read it over and see why it's crap, without deleting it straight away. I want to write stuff that is good, but to be able to read it over and see why it's good. I will keep writing here, because I think it's therapeutic too, in a way, but I think I really need to sit down and put pen to paper.

I am so used to writing on a computer that I'm expecting some serious hand crampage. But that's ok. I am so used to writing on a computer that I'm not sure how I'll handle not being able to use Backspace or Copy and Paste as I realise that this sentence would be better there. But that's ok too. The goal is to see what sort of adventure this will take me on.

I just couldn't decide on a pen today. When I wrote in my journals as a teenager, I grabbed whatever pen came to hand. My journal pages were filled with blue, black, purple, green. It took 20 minutes for my teenage self to convince my 30-something self that not everything has to be perfect. Perhaps I do have something to learn from my younger self... It's just a freaking pen.

Let's just hope that this time around, there'll be less bad poetry.



Mum used to take us to the hairdresser in one of the big towns, about an hour away from the farm. The hairdresser was always very nice to us, even when I cut my sisters hair for her and tried hiding the evidence under the couch. It must have been quite mangled because I have a hard time cutting paper, let alone hair, in a straight line, even now. The girls working in his salon looked so grown-up, I loved the smell of shampoo and other products, and I was always trying to figure out what the mysterious little room with the bed in it was for. It was only years later that I realised it was for waxing and other grooming. Ah, how naïve I once was.

I think I was the only one in my class (of 8 girls, 4 boys) to get my hair cut in the big town. At a real hairdresser. The rest of them got their hair cut by their mum or a relative or by a local lady, on her verandah.

But I always wanted to get my hair cut by the local lady. My female classmates came to school with crimped hair and (what I thought were) the most fashionable cuts. I was desperately jealous and wished fervently that our hairdresser would propose something like this to me one day. When I was twelve, it took all my courage to tell him I'd like to grow my fringe out. I was tired of having a giant and heavy 70s fringe which I felt started right at the back of my head, when all my classmates had tiny wispy fringes which started just at the top of their foreheads. Despite having a giant cow-lick and the hairdresser's advice against it, I persisted. And he did his best with my sillyness.

I know my parents splurged by taking us to get our hair cut. Even if they couldn't afford to put us in the brands of tracksuit pants we wanted, we always got our hair cut properly.

I am sure that the local lady did her best with the tools she had available. But it is only now, when I look back at photographs of me and my classmates in primary school, that I realise how profoundly grateful I am that mum took us to a proper hairdresser.

Crimped hair. Jagged fringes.




I'm very careful with books lent to me by friends. I will make sure that I don't put unnecessary pressure on the spine, I turn the pages with care.

But almost all of my books - my prized books, my beautiful trove of books, my small but well-loved collection of books - are somewhat tattered.

It's not because I don't care about them. It's not because I actually like the dog-eared pages or slightly creased covers. I think it's because they live with me as I'm reading them.

My books follow me everywhere. I read on the métro. I read as I walk to and from the métro. I read in the park. I read at lunch. I read in the car. I read in the bath. I read in bed. I read when I stir custard.

I read when I'm eating spaghetti bolognaise and quite a large number of my books have tiny red spots on the pages. I read when I'm eating a giant bowl of phô and sometimes the noodles make splashes. I dropped a book in the park the other day when I was trying to juggle my falafel and read at the same time. It landed in a pile of leaves and narrowly missed a puddle. I've dropped a book in the bathtub. I was so upset because it really couldn't be saved and I went out and bought another copy.

My books are everywhere. There are books on the couch, on the table, on the kitchen bench, on the floor beside the bed, on a shelf in the bathroom. There are books on the steps of the staircase. My bookcases are overflowing and the books are piled up precariously on top of them.

It's no wonder my books are tattered. They're loved. They're read over and over and over again. They're lent to practically anyone who shows even a passing interest. I find myself shoving my books into the hands of friends and I say "you must read it. you must".

I would like to have bookshelves full of books in pristine condition, but it's never going to happen. This is just the way I am.

I recently went to a reading with a pile of books to be signed and was a little embarrassed to pass over my stack of well-thumbed novels to the author. He just patted them, and said, "this is good - they're loved".

I'm drawn to other people who love to read and I once thought I could never marry someone who doesn't enjoy reading as much as I do. But I find it doesn't bother me very much at all that Sylvain doesn't read beyond scientific papers and the occasional comic book. He is incredibly enthusiastic about my reading, and certainly doesn't begrudge my habit of dragging home a couple of new books a week. It's actually a good thing that he doesn't read.

Cos there wouldn't be room for his books if he did.


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  • qiaor2xuan:   红网长沙7月6日讯(通讯员 杲兴 记者 汤红辉 实习生 谢娟)正是期末考试的紧张时期,湖南湘潭大学大二女生肖梦婷虽然复习得很扎实,却无心应考,时刻牵挂着因付不起住院费用,只能租住在长沙医院附近治病的父母,フレッドペリー 店舗。今日,肖梦婷一家收到首笔爱心捐款,让她感激的泪流满面。   一个好端端的家庭因为病痛而陷入了贫困,曾经幸福的家庭眼看着即将坍塌。作为女儿,肖梦婷一想起租住在湖南肿瘤医院附近小房中的父母,就心痛不已。尤其是近来得知医疗费用已经用尽,父母正在康复中的身体因为费用问题而即将停止治疗,她更加无心学业,整天精神恍惚。   “我不想这个家庭因为病魔而失去。”肖梦婷哭着表示,希望更多的人来帮帮她,向处于病痛中的父母伸出援助之手,挽救他们这个不堪一击的家庭,“我需要爸爸,也需要妈妈,更需要一个完整的家。”肖梦婷最后一句话,nike ハイカット,让现场的人听了无不心感凄凄。 read more
  • qiaor2xuan:   “我早就没有上班了,靠每月200多元低保维持生活。修路完全是出于自愿,没有任何人要求我这样做。有人听说我不是街道办事处派来修路的,马上就要掏钱给我,有人还要请我去吃饭,シャネル バッグ カタログ,挺令我感动的。” (编辑:SN021) 杨全喜默默无闻地在修路 市民供图   姜� 实习生 周双双   昆明市菊花村路附近的居民也许都曾经见过一个头发花白的老人,推着一辆小推车,上面拉着不知从哪里捡来的沥青块,填补在菊花村路被压坏的路面上。 read more
  • danielle28:   据了解,焦春景和妻子孙晓丽以开锁为生,平时生活也不算富裕。面对这些钱,焦春景说,他一点都没有动心,グッチ バッグ,这钱本来就是别人的,ナイキ マラソン,失主一下丢了这么多钱,一定很着急,一定要把钱归还给人家。   昨日下午,记者从警方了解到,失主已经联系上了安庆派出所。经过警方核实,丢钱包的人就是孙立凯本人。5万元钱失而复得,孙立凯万分感激。他说自己去办事时酒喝多了,结果坐车开车门时,包掉了下去,5万元一分没少找回来了,他表示一定要好好谢谢焦春景一家人。   晚上8点10分左右,焦春景把手头的活处理完了,和妻子回到家中,"burberry メガネ,这时,他想起了捡到的那个包。孙晓丽将包拿到屋里后,焦春景将包打开:这家伙,里面有钱,一共5沓。这么多钱究竟是谁丢的呢?焦春景和妻子孙晓丽商量,失主发现钱丢了后一定很着急,他决定到捡包的地方寻找一下失主。   焦春景和妻子顾不上吃晚饭,开车来到了支农大街捡包的地方。他和妻子都下了车,四周寻找失主。可在寒风中苦等了一个小时,也没有见到失主。于是,焦春景和妻子给本报打来电话。   当晚10时许,记者赶到了汽车厂焦春景的开锁店。当着记者的面,焦春景拿出了一个男士背包,包表面还有些泥水。焦春景拉开包,记者发现包里有5沓百元钞票。从厚度看,每沓有1万元左右,5沓约有5万元。焦春景在包里还发现了一个钱包,钱包内有一个名叫孙立凯的身份证。   本报讯 面对5沓厚厚的百元钞票,焦春景和妻子还是头一次见到这么多的钱。但是,小两口并没有动心。在寒风中苦等失主无果后,记者陪同他们将这些钱交到了汽车产业开发区公安分局安庆派出所。 read more