No. 91/92: A Parisian bus diary
Tablo Tales, $22.99 hb, 128 pp
The closest I have ever come to expiring from heat exhaustion was not during one of Melbourne’s oppressive summers. It was not in north-east Victoria as bushfire smoke choked the air and even the kangaroos abandoned the grasslands. The closest I have ever come was not even on the continent of Australia. It was on the number 26 bus as it crawled up the Rue des Pyrénées on a sweltering June day in Paris.
Whether on a wet autumn afternoon or a fiery day in summer, no matter the season, the bus in Paris is always too hot. It is also too loud, too cramped, and usually nausea-inducing. There’s a reason it was Zazie dans le Métro, not Zazie takes the 47 to Châtelet. Yet for many of us who inhabit Paris the metropolis, rather than parachuting down into Paris the playground, the bus is an inevitability and thus a unique window onto a city and its denizens.