Friday, 21 July 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 32

Absurd decisions are not always made by fools.  A reasonably sane person can be pushed into making one.  I did not jump right into employing a lawyer either.  Besides, Mme. Landlord did her best salvaging the unfair situation with a petition.  She hoped that it would prompt the other landlords, who do not reside in the building themselves, to get involved.  A couple of my neighbors signed the petition and Mme. Landlord entrusted me with the task of talking to girl tenants who had also been annoyed by the noise from the restaurant. ‘I wanted them to close that restaurant!’ she spattered.  I promised to return with Mme. Landlord’s signed petition. 

I was startled when I saw a male figure in the corridor near my door because I recognized the man to be a staff at the restaurant when I went to see Mme. Empathy.  To my surprise, he smiled and greeted me a musical ‘Bonjour.’  He was convinced of his charm and melting smile, except it froze me inside.  I saw his eyes were condescending, but at the same time with a purpose.  Instead of going back to my room to get the petition letter, I went pass by him to go out the building.  As I passed by the restaurant I spotted another figure inside: Mme. Empathy.  She had a half-smile as she looked at me.  Instinct told me that she may have sent the young man to me.    Did they think that I would accept the horrible condition they subjected me for a piece of flirtation?  What idiot would fall for that?  Impossible!

Not really.  When I later returned to the building, I saw the young man from the restaurant and one of the girl tenant getting cozy.  Or more precisely, the girl was giggling away, obviously smitten.  The affection, however, was not reciprocated judging from the coldness in the young man’s eyes, but he was indulging her.    

Needless to say, that I could not secure the signatures of any girl tenants for the petition against the restaurant.  I could not believe that those women could not see through the ploy of Mme. Empathy and her staff.  Never again shall I blame men for falling for honey pot traps. Women are no wiser.  

To be continued.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 31

Mr. Pride raised an eyebrow on learning that Mme. Landlord had reported his act of breach of trust to the Syndic.  ‘That old hag is always interfering with my business and yet the other landlords always follow her for doing the right things.  What do they know, those small fishes?’  He was the largest shareholders of the building thus had the power to fire the Syndic.  Despite the claim of being the nation of equal rights, France was severely polarized society, financially.  The frequent strike that French workers are renowned for was more like act of desperation rather than defiance.  In the end the money wins out. 

As they had expected, the Syndic refrained from taking any actions against the restaurant.  The blow struck Mme. Landlord hard.  There was no way she could gather consent of the other landlords to hire a lawyer against Mr. Pride in time.  Three weeks had already passed since the legal permit was granted to the restaurant.  Mme. Empathy was confident that two months provisional limitation would pass without a hitch.  Mr. Pride knew that Mme. Landlord, a retired lady who had to pay an enormous medical bill for her cancer treatment could not afford to come after him with a lawyer.  I could foresee the hell that would follow after the expiration date, not that it was not already hell in my apartment.  The sight of all the deserted rooms above restaurants in Paris crossed my mind.   The victims of the financially polarized France.

However, I was from Japan, a nation of ‘nearly all-middle income class.’  I am not a rich person, but had a saving that I had meant to spend on learning French culture.  I was at the cross road: one was to keep my saving and leave France; the other was to learn the French culture in a hard but the most unusual manner.  To gather information I contacted a lawyer and found out there was one exception to the rules.  The person who has been residing in the place before the problems started can launch an appeal to the tribunal regardless of his or her legal status.  This means, even a tenant like me can try stop the establishment of the legality of the permit falsely granted to Mme. Empathy.

To be continued.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 30

‘Incroyable!’ (unbelievable), she repeated over and over as Mme. Landlord read the copy of the restaurant authorization granted to our infamous Mme. Empathy at the office of PASU. 

We had expected lies about the insufficient insulation in her kitchen, but Mme. Empathy had falsely reported to the authority about the lack of consent of the other landlords on many other issues.  For this she did not act alone.  Her landlord, Mr. Pride had betrayed the trust of the other landlords of the building.  In order to protect the quality of the living condition of their homes, the other landlords stipulated a list of conditions to Mr. Pride.  One of them was a partial installation of a glass roof.  The other landlords had voted to reject this request fearing that it would transmit noise and flickering light at night to the apartments nearby.  Mr. Pride blatantly ignored this decision and wrote to the authority PASU that the other landlords had unanimously agreed to his request.  As the result, PASU granted the permission for its installation.

Mme. Landlord left to inform this discovery to the Board/le Syndic.  I went home which was more like an inferno without flame.  My heart sped up as I entered my apartment.  I ran into the kitchen, a tiny sanctuary from the blowing force.  The ear plugs I had purchased could not block out all the noise and the vibration travelled through the air and the floor pressuring my lungs and my neck.  I should have been angry at Mr. Pride and Mme. Empathy who had no problems putting other human beings through this.  However, I also learnt that they did not even remember me and would never bother themselves with the thought.  The true evil has no malice which is still essentially a human emotion.  Therefore, without malice Mme. Empathy genuinely believed her to be a lovely person and whoever got in her was the nasty vermin.  As for Mr. Pride, winning was everything.  Again I felt no malice from him because to him I was not worth acknowledging its existence.  Therefore, I saw no points in becoming enraged at the perpetrators.

My strange lack of anger helped me assess the situation with a cool head.  I would have to stay away from this place until the restaurant kitchen closed.  Of course, I would still be exposed to their electric appliances piercing through their non-insulated ceiling and onto my floor throughout every night so an extra mattress would have to be purchased.  The Syndic would surely help by righting the wrong.

I was still naïve and new to the French society.  To be continued.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 29

After the successful opening party of the previous night Mme. Empathy stood there glowing.  However when Mme. Landlord and I entered the restaurant Mme. Empathy looked at us as if we were vermin. 

Mme. Landlord politely explained the situation, but was rudely interrupted.  Mme. Empathy glared at me and spoke to me in English to my surprise.  She insisted that I did not hear anything.  If I did then it was me being oversensitive.  She then turned to Mme. Landlord and said in French ‘You should pay for the insulation, not me.’  Not knowing this, I naively begged Mme. Empathy to at least refrain from using the dishwasher after midnight.  She looked me straight in my eyes and said, we have no dishwasher.  I could see one in the kitchen and pointed at it.  Oh, that is not it’.  Without even  once flickering in eye.  I realized that I was dealing with a pathological liar.  Logical thing would be for me to walk away, but her command of English puzzled me.  It was too good for a French.  It turned out that Mme. Empathy was French only by national.  It was a typical case of immigrants dumping on other immigrants.

I observed Mme. Landlord as we walked out the restaurant.  She was looking fragile every day because of her cancer.  She was a good French lady, very sympathetic to immigrants and one of them is returning evil for good.  What would it make me if I abandoned her after all the compassion she had shown me?  Another ungrateful immigrant, of course and I refused to go down that path.  We Japanese maybe many thing, but ungrateful is not one of them.  We would much rather wage a losing battle and thus I declined when Mme. Landlord offered to return my deposit so I could leave. 

So, together we headed for PASU, the authority that approved the infrastructure of the restaurant.  Mme. Landlord was sure that Mme. Empathy had lied to the authority.  To be continued.

Friday, 23 June 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 28

I returned to my building after midnight but the guests were still in the restaurant.  The drunks were laughing away with Mme. Empathy.  But I was relieved to find that the chef was outside smoking so at least there would be no more cooking.  This chef was an Asian which is considered trendy in Paris these days.  He did not know then that Mme. Empathy would later reveal her racism and threw him out after stealing his French-Asian fusion recipe.  A woman who tramps down her neighbors would have no scruples mistreating her employees.

However, there was one group of people Mme. Empathy would turn her charm on and that was 'elites'.  She boasted of being chummy with famous food critics.  Even her brother had a connection with someone in the Council or in French le Mairie.  Can such a thing be possible in an advanced nation like France?  But how do you explain the fact that their permit to open a restaurant was granted by one person at the Council only a few months after the first application was turned down by a different person?

I walked up the stairs expecting my apartment to be quieter, but even after the cooking had finished I could still hear the staff’s every movement, every shelf and indoor door slam shut as they were in the same room.  Mme. Empathy and Mr. Pride had not insulated their ceiling AT ALL and yet they were granted the approval by PASU for the facilities in their restaurant.  In Paris, you need two types of permit, one from the Council and one from PASU, but our two clever pair managed to cheat both systems.  

To my dismay, their dishwasher was set in motion.  Even in France the electricity rate is cheaper after midnight.  Of course, Mme. Empathy would take advantage of that.  Eventually the guests and the staff would leave, but I was to be left behind exposed to their electric appliances for hours.

After the sleepless night, I opened my door to Mme. Landlord.  She saw my distress but was too honest to offer me unrealistic consolation.  In silence one old lady with one Asian woman headed for the restaurant.  Power was not on our side.    To be continued.