Thursday, October 26, 2006

People In My Neighborhood #2

Spying on Aigues Mortes.

On the road to Montpellier, where the road curves and you have to slow down to 50, a green van is parked strategically. The first time I drove past, its color was red. Probably realizing the awful cliché, the owner got a paint job.

I see her sometimes. Bombarded by intensely costume-directed films from Hollywood, I am disappointed by her perennial sweatshirts. Where are the bustier tops? The spandex and spaghetti straps? Mid-fortyish, maybe she thinks she is too old for them? The closed door blocks my view of the rest of her, but I don't suppose that with the baggy top she sports a mini-skirt and fishnets. More like jeans and old trainers. She wears eyeglasses.

So in her ordinary clothes, she does very ordinary things. Two times I saw her reading a book. Another time she was giving herself a manicure. Once, just once, did I witness something slightly interesting. A car slowed down, and the young man driving parked beside her. What happened next I could only imagine as I drove on to buy fluorescent yellow paper.

I suppose she has regular customers. Truckers, away from their wives for days at a time, using this road regularly. Sad men from the surrounding villages, Grande Motte, Le Grau du Roi, Aigues Mortes. My husband denies any knowledge. I would like to ask Momo, old and unmarried, if he has met her, but whenever I catch him at the bar, he is always already drunk. He makes incoherent noises.

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