The musings of Mr Monkeysized

Keep off the grass by monkeysized
July 21, 2010, 14:53
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I’m in Paris in July. It’s hot. The food is mostly good. It’s a pretty place. I want to combine these elements. I go to Jardin du Luxembourg with a nice bit of mushroom flan in a posh box, and what happens?

The lawns are manicured and there are a collection of school chairs for people to sit on, provided they stick to the dusty pathways and avoid that pristine greenery. What could be less monkeysized than lawns that you are not allowed to sit on? It reminds me of my year and a half in the Balkans.

Living in Bosnia left me with an instinctive fear of anything that wasn’t made of asphalt. Any piece of green or brown was suspect. It was a pavlovian response, playing on an instinctive desire not to be exploded or to see my lower half shredded by some of the evil explosive devices that still litter parts of the former Yugoslavia (interestingly for monkeysized reasons, as a hopefully reproductively competent male, I was more worried about losing more delicate bits of my anatomy than my legs). I felt this instinct to avoid soft ground kick in even when visiting Northumberland or New England. It was a relief when the mine-avoidance reflex finally disappeared, weeks or months after finally leaving Sarajevo.

I’m not comparing Keep Off the Grass signs in Paris to the horror of unmarked mine fields in the Balkans. But in a world where many can’t even have a carefree saunter across a cool lawn, the Jardin du Luxembourg has got its priorities sorely wrong.


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