C’est la rentree de dingue – when the crazies come home

September is the month when everyone returns to Paris.

Employees return to work from holidays inevitably spent either in the exact same location where they have spent them the last 17 years, or Corsica. Or both.

After six weeks or relative peace, streets once again bustle and hum, drowning out the dominant summer sound that is lost tourists loudly asking stupid questions.

The return of one Parisian sub-culture is noticed above the rest.

I’m talking about the ‘crazies’ – people who actually look at you on the metro, who mumble and mutter, and seem wonderfully oblivious to the goings on around.

Paris is a city with an excellent selection of crazies, far better than those found in, say, Melbourne (where they are all contained within the same small area, namely, out the front of 7Eleven on Elizabeth Street –  by virtue of the magnetizing effect harsh luminescent light has on damaged brains (incidentally why you only go to 7Eleven when you’re drunk)).

I notice this phenomenon now not because I ever saw the crazies leave, but just because it seems in the last week that I’ve interacted with a heluva lot of them. Megan had spent a previous summer on the Cote d’Azur, where she had witnessed the flock of crazies arrive, just like all the other people from Paris who arrive.

My favourite crazy who I had the pleasure of meeting upon his return, has so far been the man outside my house carrying a long pair of skis on his shoulder. He held these in place with one hand, and in the other, carried a large broom, a la fashion of a stereotypical witch. As he walked, he would forcefully hit passing objects with this broom – bins, cars, parked bicycles.

Not realising this, we approached him from behind on the footpath to overtake. With three metres to go, he let out a sudden roar, turned about face and menaced his broom at us, before whacking it violently against a fence (it was not a sweeping gesture). Megan squealed, and we both hid behind a parked car until a transparent green bin liner managed to attract the man’s interest more than us.

Later I contemplated what might have happened. Of all the ridiculous ways that young people find to die overseas that you read about in obituaries, being “bludgeoned to death on a Friday afternoon by a broom-wielding bandit”, would almost certainly raise a smile.

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One Response to “C’est la rentree de dingue – when the crazies come home”

  1. Denika Says:

    I nearly had an anurism when a crazy started sort of half screeching half wailing incoherently at me on the metro tonight. It was mesmerising and terrifying all at once.

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