I’m not done yet with my reflections on the recent trip my wife and I took to Paris. Today I want to talk about the most interesting man in Paris. He was an older guy wearing a worn white suit and walking with a cane while waiting for the Metro down in one of the stations. He’d also crapped his pants.
My wife and I had been at a café with some friends getting drinks when we decided to go to the Latin Quarter for dinner. A friend rode the Metro over there with us, though he didn’t have time to join us for dinner. While we were waiting for the Metro, my wife and our friend remarked that something smelled like crap. I’d already noticed where it was coming from and pointed the gentleman out.
It was pretty obvious.
I mean, he was wearing a white suit. Without trying to be gross, the stain was watery and variously colored. You could see the chair he’d been sitting in (he was walking around at that point), due to material that had bled through the suit onto the chair (quite a bit, though not as much as was still on his clothes). The smell was also unmistakable.
I was trying to figure out whether the guy needed some kind of help or not. The suit was worn and he was behaving strangely, he might simply have been drunk enough to crap his pants. Then again, maybe there was something wrong with him (stroke, mental difficulties, defecation as a climate change protest, whatever?). He might have even needed help. However, whatever he was saying was in French and I didn’t understand. No one else on the crowded platform did anything, so I don’t think he needed help. He just walked around muttering and people mainly avoided him. He didn’t plead with anyone directly, certainly not anything that looked like a request for help. I wouldn’t have known who to call if he did. If he didn’t need help, then I didn’t want to bother him.
He had issues enough to deal with.
Regardless, I thought about him more than probably anyone else I noticed in Paris while trying to figure out whether I should have done something or not. Whatever was going on in his life at that moment, he was certainly the most interesting person I saw in Paris.