Sunday, 8 May 2005

Home From Home?

It is all shrunk! Or have I grown again? It wasn’t like that last year. When I walked into my parent’s kitchen, back in France, last Sunday afternoon, it was not the right size; not the size I remembered it anyway. The rest of the house seemed more or less fine though. I felt like Gulliver in Lilliput. And a rather strange journey it had been too.

The train journey to Paris had gone fine and is not really worth dwelling upon. Soon after departure, I had open my laptop and switching on I-tunes had started to read the script of the next Chorus’ show in details. I am now (since the elections) in charge of promoting the thing and I have worries about its content and the appeal it will have to the wider audience we need to fill the venue three times (that’s 2400 people to attract). Anyway, I felt really chuffed to be able to use my laptop on the train and to be able to listen to my music. I-tune, by turning my PC into this jukebox, has given me new appreciation of my music. Sounding like a kid talking about his new toy, I would say it is like a radio but better. You do not have to worry about changing CD and what you will be listening to next (and considering my eclectic tastes in music, the next think could be almost anything!), just as wonderfully, this radio channel has no advertising breaks in its schedules and plays only music you like… what more can one ask?

Why is this bag so heavy?

The transfer from Gare du Nord to Gare du Lyon was also quite painless. I managed not to take the metro in the wrong direction this time, as I have been known to do on previous occasions, ending up in banlieue (the suburbs) before I new it because the train was a fast one with fewer stops. I had an hour and a half between the two trains and I had to sit in the station for a while, feeling exotic munching on a packet of Walkers salt and vinegar crisps (a flavour no one would dare to dream up in France) and watching the men walk by. The weather is having one of its now frequent mood swings and it feels like summer in France at the moment, everyone dressing accordingly of course…. Nice!

Perhaps my gaydar is out of order or in need of tuning but I must say I spotted disconcertingly few of my fellow poofs. It was nice to think, however, that, in another part of town, some of the members of the Chorus were already there, ready to take part in Various Voices in a few days time.

How easy must life be for a pigeon trapped in a train station. You just have to look to find all sorts of food on the floor. Like it grows there or something.

The second leg of my journey (Paris to Dijon), proved more awkward than the first. When I got on the train, the only available baggage rack was already full. The other one had been replaced by a huge, and probably much more profitable, vending machine. My seat was on the first row after the door. As I was checking my ticket, I notice that the guy in the row in front was reading a magazine with an ad showing a male torso with that extra something telling me it was not directed at your average straight guy or even girl. Sure enough: heads turned to see what was that tall dark presence looming. Target locked!

At first glance I thought that my neighbour was one of us too. Dressed with a crisp pink shirt, tanned, and with a gold ear ring, he would not have looked out of place in a gay bar. His “I would have preferred a girl” as I sat next too him, proved once again that my gaydar needed tuning. I tried to make a good humoured answer to this. As I was going to discover during the hour and forty minutes of the journey, it turned out that the guy was straight (“I have a girlfriend and she would not like me saying that I would have preferred a girl.”). During the course of a rather intermittent and confused (as well as confusing) logoreah, I also found out the guy worked for one the cités universitaires on the Campus, had just attended a “dame” world championships in Brussels, had done several marathon all over the world (which gave him a runner’s mental strength to face life) and that he had a problem with the way girls dressed these days. Although I was trying to discourage him but making very short answers and even by taking out a book, he insisted on telling that he had actually been, wrongly, accused of rape by one of the students where he worked. Although he “didn’t know me”, he told me how he had been convicted and had gone to jail and how his “directrice” had supported him together with his mum and his running mates. Followed a few considerations on the cruelty of life and the unfairness of the justice system. I must say I was rather relieved when the train arrived and I exchanged a meaningful look with one of the guys in front who had obviously had the benefit of the whole conversation, together with a good number of the other passengers, I should think.

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