Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What phone booths are good for

There is a phone booth at the street corner by the Institut Henri Poincare in Paris. What are phone booths good for nowadays that everyone has a cell phone?

Someone found a use for it: a man lives there. The floor is made of metal, but there is a blanket. We can see the figure of a man in a thick sleeping bag (this is January, and the temperature is often freezing). The space is too small for him to lie down, but he can sort of crouch down, and the glass walls protect him from the wind (and from the rain: in Paris it rains roughly every other day). But there is a one-inch gap between the two doors. I would still be cold, and the sleeping position would give me a stiff neck.

Sometimes I walk by and he is not there: only his covers are there. Is he not afraid that they will be stolen? Perhaps he got chilled and went to sit on a subway vent to warm himself in the hot air coming up through the grates. But mostly he spends his days in the sleeping bag, hibernating.

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