Spring has finally arrived. Birds chirp at the edge of the basins. A young woman has been waiting here for almost 30 minutes minutes and she’s getting numb. She squirms a little while always staring at her target. All her senses are awakened. She is ready to pounce at the slightest movement.
Because it’s all about speed when you want to get a comfortable lawn chair at the Jardin des Tuileries. It is indeed a rare commodity and you must know how to jostle not to be on one of these straight boring metal chairs where this specimen of Parisian woman we’ll call Paulette, is taking her troubles patiently. She won’t let this tempting prey get away so easily: the large round pond is really the ideal spot. And as soon as this Japanese tourist has folded the map of Paris she’s been consulting for hours with a magnifying glass, the approach maneuvers can begin. Above all, the perimeter must be secured, and Paulette ensures that no walker is close enough to grab the chair before her.
Struggle for territory applies even in jardins à la française. While her back begs for mercy, Paulette wonders why nobody ever thought of installing more of those comfortable chairs in this damn garden. She smells a conspiracy between the City Hall of Paris and the manufacturer (which also provides the folding chairs that can be found in Times Square).
That’s it! The Japanese tourist finally seems ready to go. It’s not too early.
At the same time, coming out of nowhere, another Parisian woman we’ll call Marceline, appears. This is a different kind of chair-predator who’s approaching: a prowler, who tirelessly rounds the garden until she finds a place that is free. Paulette knows them too well; they are the most deceitful! Everything is now accelerating. Paulette literally jumps out of her chair. Marceline sees her and rushes too. The lawn chair is now at the mercy of any walker. The tension is palpable in the air.
A seagull who was passing by lands on the back of the chair, just in time to leave a huge poop on it, then flies again in a frightful sneer.
Paulette and Marceline stop short in front of this disgusting outrage then slowly move away with an embarrassed smile on their faces. At the Jardin des Tuileries, the biggest predators are not who you think they are.
Get in touch with the author/illustrator at @David_Cessac and on Facebook, and check out his website. Check back soon for the next installation in the column A Few Parisians. This illustration is available as a print, laptop case and more on the Untapped Shop.