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Posts Tagged ‘Neighborhood’

Hey friends!

Things have been happening — classes, homeworks, runs, delicious homemade dinners, etc. — in my life, per usual.

But today, rather than tell you about them —  because let’s face it, after Monday’s peanut butter victory, everything else would seem like a let down, you know? — I have decided to share with you a brief but complete list of the homeless people who live in my neighborhood, including their usual hangouts and what they carry with them. Enjoy!

(Please note: I understand that homelessness is a very serious problem, here in Paris and everywhere. While this list is lighthearted, it is merely meant to be an observation of some of the very real characters who populate my daily life.)

1. “That Guy” — This guy really is THE homeless man here on Cité d’Hauteville. He takes up his spot right at the end of the intersection of Cité d’Hauteville and Rue d’Hauteville, spreading out his sleeping bag and supply corner in a little overhang underneath the large plate glass windows of a costume shop. He usually arrives in the early-mid afternoon, and remains there, sleeping, eating, peeing on parked cars, listening to the radio, etc. until the morning time. I use “That Guy” as a landmark for my friends when they come to visit me for the first time. He really works well. Sometimes he has friends who join him, but he really is the most consistent feature of my life here.

2. “Stair Tent Man/Woman/Person/Individual” — This person — I can’t tell the gender, as I have never really actually seen them — hangs out by my front door in a alcove, which they cover with a sheet or tent thing, blocking their hideaway from the elements and the prying eyes of the neighbors. It’s actually a perfect sleeping place. I live at a dead end running up into a large concrete wall, so it’s quiet, dry and safe. The police only bother the tenter occasionally, but the stairs don’t go anywhere but into a wall, so the stair tent guy/girl is set.

3. Kitten Man — This man hangs out by the McDonald’s at the corner of Rue Magenta and Rue Chabrol. He isn’t always there — though his sign that reads, “SVP Aidez-Moi À Manger” (If you please, help me to eat) usually is. When he is there, he sometimes has a small calico cat with him, attached to his hip by a small rope leash. I’m not sure why he thought having a cat on a leash with him would help encourage people to give him money, nor can I figure out why he also feels the need to feed and take care of said cat if he himself has problems doing those same things on a more personal basis, but it is a pretty cute cat.

4. Angry Camo Monoprix Youth— This camouflage-parachute pant wearing guy sometimes has a couple of angry dogs/friends with him, but mostly he just hangs out in front of the Monoprix — higher-end supermarket — by Gare de l’Est and harasses people who walk by. Sometimes he’s nice — offering to carry groceries, complimenting people, etc. — but mostly he is loud and confrontational. I’m glad I don’t go to Monoprix very much anymore, because he kind of intimidates me.

5. Bank Machine Bums— These guys are pretty ubiquitous, but here in the 10th Arrondissement, we have quite a few number of the ATM “attendants,” quietly sitting by the bank machines with their food signs. These guys are actually pretty chill. They usually don’t bug you when you get money out of the machine, they just hang out by the machine and hope their visible plight inspires you to take more money out than you were planning and maybe give them some of said additional money. The guy who sits by the Fortis/BNP Paribas bank machine with his doberman puppy is friends with a local old lady, I think, and she sometimes comes by with bags of food and gives it to the man and his dog.

There are so many more homeless people who make up the cast of characters in this neighborhood, as well as people who live in my building and on my street and attend the community remedial college across the street. If this post is well received, I might go into some of them in more detail.

Off to dinner and homework. Yummy winter roots…tasty.

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