Saturday, February 18, 2017

Benefits claimer’s VIP entry to Louvre museum

I had sent so many job applications that I didn’t manage to keep records any more. I was surprised when a South Korean cosmetics company contacted me for a half time sales person position. I fixed an interview for the next day.
   I had no metro tickets left and the weather was fine so I decided to walk to the company, which was called Millefleur. I had some extra time to drop in the Louvre museum to urinate for free as public toilets are gradually giving way to privately owned chic shopping and peeing areas for tourists. At the same time a French institution dame pipi, a kind of a toilet attendant is becoming an endangered species. Those severe looking elderly ladies with a coin cup in front of them were council employees until a private company purchased the Paris public toilets. These ladies were supposed to be kicked away as they don’t have neither the right commercial attitude nor the looks.
   Nowadays even a toilet attendant needs to be young, pretty and a polyglot. But this is France and they went on strike, which was hard for tourists having an urgent need in the Eiffel Tower or at railway stations. The good news was that tourists didn’t wet their pants in vain. Some of the dame pipis kept their jobs, others were transferred to another position within Paris council.
   As a RSA benefits claimer I had free entry to most museums as well as to their loo. The first time I was ashamed to request the RSA benefits claimer’s free entry out loud. However, I soon realized that poorly paid vigils treated me like a VIP and often let me pass the waiting line. Once they even let me pass but stopped a Senator for further questions. Like RSA claimers, Senators also have free entry to Paris museums.

The guy wearing crow’s nest hat
Once inside I passed by the Italian Renaissance collection. Tourists were rushing through the corridors towards the Mona Lisa. Carefully avoiding to notice by mistake any other paintings on their way. Guides tried to catch their own visitor group’s attention by holding closed umbrellas over their heads.

Surrounded by medieval Saints and Virgin Mary’s I immediately felt my blood pressure go down. I must have got caught by the Virgin Mary effect, the more or less scientific fact that seeing a baby in the arms of his mother generates happy feelings. I remember bringing my daughter to see the collection when she was about four. And it was worth it: back at home she proudly announced to me that now she knows who Jesus is. “He is the guy wearing a crow’s nest hat,” she declared knowingly. I preferred her idea to the cruel thorn crown story.

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