An Armenian Incident in a French Subway

We Armenians really are an incredibly unique people and that uniqueness becomes most evident when placed against the background of a foreign country.

It was in Paris. Me, my brother Daniel, and my mom were walking towards the subway station, in no particular hurry, when suddenly Daniel heard the subway about to leave. Had he been a civilized European, he would have considered that we could have never made it to that specific subway and would have to wait for the next one. But no! he HAD to start running towards the metro doors that were about to shut. So before I knew it, he had flashed ahead of us into the subway. I was caught in the middle of my stubborn and impatient brother, who was frantically beckoning us, and my panting mother, who was running despite her irritation with my brother. The doors were about to shut, but I was uncertain whether to jump through. What if my mom did not make it in time? Should I go with my brother or stay behind with her?

I waited near the doors, cheering on my mom, till she reached us and with her last strength threw herself into the metro. And just as I was jumping in, the doors shut and my foot got stock midair between them. Though the purpose of this story is not to advertise Adidas, I cannot go on without mentioning my gratitude for the thick bottom layer of my Adidas sneakers that saved my foot from crushing!

As I awkwardly stood there like a stork on one leg, two kind strangers pulled the doors open and my foot was finally released. I thought the worst was over, until I noticed the horrified looks of the passengers, who had probably never seen Armenians, and began dreading the next long minutes that I would spend in embarrassment in their company.

“Now, THAT’s something they’ll never forget!” I cheerfully thought to myself as soon as we stepped out of the subway. Had we been in Armenia, people might have forgotten about the incident as soon as they finished scrutinizing us from head to toe, because probably this wouldn’t have been the first such happening that they witnessed. But although the French were too polite to stare, I knew they were still thinking about what they saw and would continue to do so for quite some time.

Sometimes, I find myself wishing that we Armenians could be a bit more formal and civilized; but then there are times, when I love the unique friskiness, informality, and flexibility that so often characterize us!


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