Monday, September 05, 2005

Being mean

so many sharks
Originally uploaded by Nyx.
Metro entrances in Paris have a double barrier entrance. First you pass your ticket through the reader the go through a turnstyle, then you push open a metal door behind it to continue on through. It's a pretty common habit - especially among younger guys - to follow people through and get a free entrance by jumping over the turnstyle behind someone and holding open the metal door before it shuts behind the person who's just passed through it. The turnstyles are pretty easy to jump - if you're not eighty, but once the metal doors are closed, they lock in place.
There's something about being followed through a turnstyle that really gets on my nerves. I hate that someone has used my ticket as a get in free pass. I do let people in who ask to pass through with me, that's not a problem. It's just when you see them sneaking up behind you out of the corner of your eye...argh! it drives me mad, maybe it's a personal space thing, or it's just the arrogance of someone using you to exploit the system, dunno. Anyway, yesterday I'd had it - one guy was mid-leap behind me, I turned around as I passed through the door, raised an eyebrow, said 'you think so?' and slammed the metal door shut. He was stuck. He was pissed. I was amused. I guess being mean can be fun sometimes ;)


L'Oiseau said...

This is one of my pet gripes as well. I've done everything you said, but never managed to get someone trapped in between. I would have loved to have seen their expression!

In the interests of being open, I should also admit that I've also been guilty of this practice. But only when I've forgotten I'm going further out of the zone of my carte orange. And I do ask. In an embarassed, quiet, English way...

Katia said...

I loathe this too - but I have to say that once I didn't let someone through behind me and when he did eventually get through, he found me and screamed at me. I just ignored him, but it shook me up a little.

Nyx said...

well, I've scrounged free rides in buses and trains that don't have card readers - when I'm very low on cash and it's too far/I'm too tired to walk. But generally I prefer to pay, it's important to have a good public transport system. And I really don't mind if someone asks me - but like you say Katia, there is a risk that they'll get stroppy, even though they're totally in the wrong anyway. Sometimes I think they'd be better off having controllers at the gates like in London.

kate said...

Bein mean is such an expansive topic. Well...where should I begin? How about I just start with the statement that it is impossible to go throughout life without being mean. And, when you go a while without being particularly nasty, you feel a strange craving to step on someone's toes. In fact, you want to STOMP on someones toes, just for the hell of doing it. Well, that's how I feel, anyway. Some wierdoes might disagree.
So anyway, I was going to class on day, and someone approaches me with a rather distasteful look on their face. Apparently, all the doors to the building that he wants to enter are locked, and he's somewhat pissed. Now, I was happy to go on my merry way when he stopped me and demanded an explanation for his situation. Maybe he had reached that point where he's sick of being nice, and simply wants to kick some butt, just for the sake of doing so. This encounter probably wouldn't have materialized into an extraordinarily dire situation had I not been in the same belligerent mood as he. In fact, I was hoping to have an encounter with someone, anyone, just to let off some steam. I told him that everyone knows that the doors to this building are locked, and the only way to get in is to go to the top floor of the adjacent building. Someone in the adjacent building will call someone in the locked building, and then that someone will unlock the door. The look of incredulity on this man's face almost sent me into gales of laughter, but I was able to keep my composure until he was well off on his way into and up to the top floor of the adjacent building. He stalked off quite angrily, but not before stating what a F---ed up city this was.