I See Stories

September 12, 2006, 5:30 am
Filed under: looking out

6 September 2006

We leave the house, K and I, to walk along the tree-lined boulevard towards the Place DeGaulle and the librairie. Four quick events capture my attention.

First, a SAMU truck passed. I’ve seen lots of these go by me as I walk along the streets. I do quite a bit of walking so I mean LOTS of SAMUs. Why was it today that I first noticed that in great, huge white letters on the side of the red truck it says “L’AMBULANCE REANIMATION”? I don’t know. I asked K, “do they all say that?” Looking at me to verify that I was neither teasing nor making fun, she nodded, “well, yeah, Mama, some do.” I laughed out loud as images ran through my mind of the truck screeching to a halt in front of a little pile of black lines all crumpled against a white background. The men in navy blue jump from l’ambulance toting equipment, medicine, and reviving agents to encircle the black lines. Several minutes later, the black lines move. As the crumpled bits rise against the whiteness, lines are rejoined, once more an active and vital cartoon. Reanimated.

eerie shirtshirtfacebig.jpgSecond, we gazed into a shop window at the strangest shirt…gray, white and black, a long-sleeved t-shirt with gray and white stripes and insets of black lace in the bodice and along the cuffs of the sleeves and the hem. But most eerie was the black and white photo of a child of about two years of age just over the belly of the shirt. She has dark curls and looks back pensively at us like she is just a wisp about to disappear. Eerie. Creepy.

Third, a man, who could easily have been a bum, was walking towards K and me but looking up and talking a mile-a-minute. Always compelling to see someone regarding something that I don’t see, I follow his gaze and see that he is talking to the vent grate just over our heads. Unusual, I think, as he moves towards the grate not watching the ground beneath him which includes the two of us; what is he saying? I have no idea, but decide that we are definitely too close to his path. Is he mad, I wonder? Then, I realize that there is someone on the other side of the grate; the man behind the grate is talking to the man in the street. I don’t even want to know how they knew each other was there or what they were talking about or what the man was doing on the other side of that metal vent grate…it’s just too much.

And fourth, a woman stepped out onto the sidewalk in front of us with a very small, well-groomed Yorkshire terrier. The dog trailed behind her so the leash was at ankle level stretched the width of the sidewalk like a trip-wire. It caught me off-guard so I came to a quick halt and up onto my toe tips; I grabbed K’s arm. At that moment a man with a white terrier came from the other direction, the woman quickly reversed direction and went back into the doorway whence she came thereby avoiding the man, but the dogs, quite interested in one another, stopped for a quick sniff. Each owner pulled the pooches until the leashes were taut and fully extended, still across the path. The dogs stretched to maintain contact while I rocked somewhat unsteadily on my toes. Suddenly the Yorkshire made a small guttural noise and I guessed what was coming next: I imagined those two pups squaring off, fangs flashing with only my ankles within each other’s reach; an ankle biter sunk into the end of each of my legs. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time! But no, they were small, the owners were quick, if non-attentive, and the pooches were dragged away without a second glance, no damage done. My ankles were safe and I fell from my tiptoes in the direction of home.

Toujours les histoires!


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