Free Quirk No.4 ~ "See Anything Strange?"


"See Something Strange?"


Forget the metro; forget statues and sidewalks; let's forget even Paris for a while and leave the city far above; let's go way down for a change.

Deep under the flowing boulevards and hustle and bustle of the city streets and even the incessant criss-crossing of the trains lies a much quieter place.

The phreatic layer. The phreatic wot? The phreatic layer; the water table.

Paris is sitting on a liquid legacy, to such an extent that certain monumental buildings like the Opéra-Bastille and the new Quai Branly museum need to have hundreds of square metres of H2O pumped out of their basements and into the Seine every day.

Or they'd break their moorings and simply float away down the river and across the English channel and end up at Dover or even half-way up the Thames if the wind was blowing in the right direction. No, honestly, they would!

The impression I had looking down into this surreal pit was unsettling, and it was difficult to decide if this really was water, or just a greeny-blue gauze that had been placed over the hole for aesthetic effect..

"How long does it take for pixels to wear out, anyone?"

The picture above is my spooky atmospheric iPhone-treated version, but here is a more straightforward one (with more realistic colours) which shows quite clearly 10c piece made an reasonably realistic splash as it hit the water surface and is now resting, peacefully I trust, at the true bottom of Paris for posterity. Not any old water surface, I'll have you know, but the actual, honest-to-goodness, scout's honour Paris water phreatic table layer surface, I kid you not! And you can't get much deeper than that, now can you?

I guess I should have scratched my name into that little coin really, just to intrigue excavators from the year 3011 who would have asked themselves who this strange 'Sab' character with his name engraved on his very own metal discs was.

'Probably some sort of pharaoh or something', they'd probably conclude. But I didn't. I'll have to find some other form of imagined immortality I guess. How long does it take for pixels to wear out, anyone?


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