There are various categories of symbiosis seen when two organisms interact:
Parasitism, in which the association is disadvantageous or destructive to one of the organisms and beneficial to the other (+ −)
So here I was wondering as to how I managed to convince myself to come to Eiffel Tower when I was having a great time shopping at Champs Elysees when I was interrupted by an Indian guy asking me to take a picture of him in front of the tower. Obviously I obliged. He felt obligated to take a picture of me in the same location with my camera, making me stand with a hand on my hip and my head slightly bent for studio quality photograph. I obliged to his obligation. That’s when the story went downhill... or rather, up the tower.
I started to wander around the base of the tower and wherever I turned, I met him by sheer coincidence of course. ‘Can you take a photo here in front of that statue?’
‘Now let me take yours. Give me your camera.’
‘Oh look, it’s you again. One more photo please!’… and then so it went on forever.
That explains my extreme emotions in certain photos. So I ran amok to try to flee from the Photo-Nazi when I was confronted with a superb idea. I decided to climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator as a means of escape. Seeing his bulk in person and through the lens, I was pretty sure he’d find a more sedentary prey to continue with his Eiffel Tower portfolio.
In five minutes of running up the stairs, I heard unmistakable panting and puffing. ‘Do you know I am a Sri Lankan? Huff..Pufff.. slow down. I want a picture taken here on the stairs!’
‘Wait, let me take a picture of you in my camera and send it to you by email. Isn’t it so cool that we found each other to take pictures? ’
That does it! I sprinted ahead, crouched behind a dustbin and didn’t move for 30 minutes straight. Yes, at the cost of looking suspicious to people wanting to throw trash. That’s when I lost him much to my utter delight.
BTW, when you do have time after escaping from self obsessed Sri Lankans, do look out of the tower. It’s got a great view with no openings to throw yourself out of!
Mutualism, in which the association is advantageous to both (+ +)
Back in Champs Elysees, a Chinese guy stopped me in the middle of the sidewalk and asked me if I spoke English. Very wary that it might be for some money, I replied in affirmative. Maybe I liked being asked for money. Gives me kicks that people think I do have money. Especially decently dressed individuals like himself. But he didn’t ask me for any cash. He gave me some infact. 330 Euros in hard currency. He asked me to quickly put the sum in my pocket lest someone notices. I was about to thank him and skip away into the sunset; but like all sweet deals, there was a catch to this one. I was asked to buy this particular wallet from Louis Vuitton (for which he had a sample) for him. I get no commision in this deal and I could very well be arrested if the notes were counterfiet. But in some whim, I agreed to carry out this weird request. If he had asked me to take a picture of him, I might have screamed. This way, I thought to myself, I get to go inside the swanky LV store and actually buy something. I could walk out of the store for one block with a Louis Vuitton bag in my hand. Hah! This is great!
Before you conclude I am quite an abnormal person, he did mention that he wasn’t being let into the store and I had heard rumors that stores in Paris were known for their snooty behaviour. Helping the hapless and walletless was my prerogative.
So I walked in effortlessly and stayed in the store for an hour admiring the disgusting purses locked up behind glass cases some billed at 20,000 Euros. I took my own time as I had to keep our Chinese man on his toes. Hopefully he was breaking into a sweat thinking that I actually ran away with his money from some underground passage. After going from one sales rep to another, I was finally handed the wallet in forceps to check. It was then neatly wrapped in some box and placed in a LV bag. ‘Ma’am, credit card or cash?’
I needed cash so the thought of using my credit card did occur, but I decided against it imagining it would hurt me more than the store if that money was actually fake.
As I walked out, I could see him waving to me across the street excitedly, at the same time suspiciously looking around. Anyway, I handed the wallet to him asking him to check if it was alright. He grabbed the bag, thanked me quickly, threw the packaging, pocketed the wallet and walked away real fast. A little perplexed, I was glad to take the empty bag home.
If you ever buy a fake LV from Chinatown for 10 bucks, remember Alpha and thank her for that prototype that she provided to make your purse look like an exact replica.
Commensalism, in which one member of the association benefits while the other is not affected (+ 0)
I saw Arch De Triomph at the far end of Champs Elysees and decided to get a closer look having come this far. As I went closer, familiar music engulfed me. ‘No way! No freaking way!’
Abhishek, Lara and the croonies were here too. Second day in a row. My stars were aligned perfectly and literally. Same clothes, different venue…the song sequence continues. I was hoping to let Aby baby know about my plans for the next day so I could see him again. Sigh!