Bowler Hats and Walking Canes

We all need an angel or two.  My guess is that they sometimes nudge us in the right direction; other times, they throw up their hands, or wings as the case may be, and simply step in.

I met two of mine when my friend Ann and I arrived in Paris.  Over my morning coffee and her morning tea morning, we looked at each other and agreed we both needed some time alone.  It comes with living with yourself for too many years.

We headed off in different adventures.  I wanted to go antiquing.  It didn’t matter that it was August and most shops closed with everyone on holiday.  I would find what I could find.

I strolled down past the Notre Dame, following the Seine and a guidebook and walked miles to find a small, tucked away little antique area.  I found the area right where it should have been and it was a delightful as I’d hoped, even with the majority of shops closed for the month.  Narrow streets meandered through the antique district and small shops with window boxes overflowing with vibrant pink geraniums decorated the walkways.  Most of the window displays had been emptied for the August vacation, but a few remained, showcasing the shop’s wares.  I walked around, enjoyed the scenery, wandered in and out of a shop or two that were open and then headed back to meet Ann.

About halfway back to the hotel, I realized I was the only pedestrian on the street.  But, it was Paris, a lovely day, and any intuitive thoughts that started to darken my adventure were pushed aside. That worked a while until I realized that across the street was a young man, looking all the bit a petty thief.  He tried to engage me in conversation.  I ignored him.

That didn’t work, as the young man became more animated and more agitated. Actually, he was hassling me although I pretended not to understand which was quite easy, because I really didn’t understand him despite his animated gestures. My French had not improved during the trip. He wanted something, probably money, but because I did not speak French, I was at a loss to reply.  His tone, however, made it obvious that this was not a friendly conversation. As there weren’t many options, I continued to walk back towards the center of Paris.

I knew a lot about not playing the victim role, so I walked with conviction, trying to look like I was not going to put up with any nonsense even though by now my feet were killing me.  It didn’t work, and the young man started across the street towards me.

Then, out of thBowler hate blue, two older very distinguished, very tall and very gay British men, dressed in three piece dark suits complete with bowler hats and walking canes, appeared out of nowhere.  The flamboyant duo swooped in, each taking one of my arms and loudly announcing to me and anyone else in the immediate vicinity, 

Darling, where have you been?  We have been searching all over for you. It’s far past time for tea. Shall we go?

The young man immediately disappeared into a side street.

And, with that, my two angels escorted me back to civilization, chatting the entire time and even insisting that we stop for afternoon tea, which after the long, long walk was even more appreciated.

4 thoughts on “Bowler Hats and Walking Canes

  1. I had not ever heard the story, and boy were you lucky! we usually ride the metro to go wherever we wanted to go, but on one occasion we took a bus. There were very few seats and I took one and Burton was standing right in front of me. I was facing sideways and he was facing forward. The young man behind him had a nice and was going to slit his pocket and take his wallet. I kicked the s*** out of him best I could from a seated position and somewhat cramped by the people close by me on the bench seat, and screamed bloody murder at the driver, and the thief and three friends pulled the cord as the bus driver slammed to a stop to find out what was going on, and they jumped off and ran. There was a lot of buzz about it and somebody explain to the driver what had happened and that we could go on, and several people expressed appreciation that something had been done, and then passengers apparently begin speaking to each other about thefts that they had either experienced or witnessed. I suppose things like that happened on the Metro but I never heard of it, and later when I knew more people to talk to who had lived in France, they said it usually to people standing on crowded buses or standing in a crowd at an event. Being in a deserted area seems especially dangerous. you were lucky!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s