The poor are truly not wanted in Paris-Part 10


Mme. HARMONY and I, together, headed for BASU, the authority that assessed and approved the infrastructure of restaurants.  Mme. HARMONY was sure that Mme. HEART had lied to the authority, but she was unprepared for the result.  'Incroyable!' (unbelievable), she repeated it repeatedly as she read the copy of the restaurant permit granted to our restaurant from Hell. 

Mme. HEART had presented the entire building as if owned mainly by Mr PRIDE and that any alteration was possible without the consent of other landlords.  His letter attached to the file proved that he went along with the misrepresentation.  His claim to have possessed a legitimate extractor pipe was a shameless scam.  Mme. HARMONY informed me that the extractor pipe of the cooking ventilation was fixed on the wall of the next-door building.  Initially, the restaurant's former owner asked the landlords of his building to allow him the extractor but was met with a refusal.   After that, the former owner illegally attached to the next door's wall and sold the restaurant to Mr PRIDE.  

Although France is the temple of gourmets, nobody wants restaurants in their building because the authority does not come around to supervise the breach of conduct.   Thus, aided by this convenient custom, Mr PRIDE and Mme HEART chose to run a restaurant on an illegal ventilation system and blast my apartment and my health away.  'What sort of upbringing did they have to have such a nerve?' I blurted out.  Mme. HARMONY shrugged her shoulder.

'I would not know.  They don't come from a French family.'

'What?  They're immigrants like me?'

'Well…technically, yes.'

So…it was another case of immigrants mounting on other immigrants who came later.  I don't need this, but the French do not need it in their backyards either.  No wonder there is a movement among the French who seek to reduce the entry of immigrants.  

Mme. HARMONY left to inform the Board/le Syndic of this unpleasant discovery.  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 earplugs I had purchased could not block out the noise, and the complex vibration struck my lungs and neck.  I should have been angry at Mr Pride and Mme  HEART who had no problems putting other human beings through this.  However, I know evil has no malice, which is still a human emotion.  Mme. HEART must believe her to be lovely; whoever got in her was the nasty vermin.  As for Mr Pride, I was not a profitable asset to acknowledge as a human being.  Therefore, I saw no point in becoming angry at these predators, void of human decency.  

My strange lack of anger helped me assess the situation with a cool head.  I would have to stay away from this Hell during the kitchen active hours in a library.  I must also move the insulation material on my ceiling onto the floor.  It might sustain me until the Syndic right the wrong after the manager learned from Mme. HARMONY about the breach of the regulations by Mr PRIDE.

Sadly, I was still naïve and new to French society.  The Syndic sided with Mr PRIDE, the largest shareholder of the building, which gave him the power to fire the Ceo of Syndic.  At the end of the day, even Mme. HARMONY, French, but a small shareholder did not matter to the Syndic.  Even in the land of liberty, France could not escape the laws dictated by money.

Mirror that reflects your soulMme. HARMONY, a senior she may have been, would not concede defeat that easily.  She was, after all, a French and a fighter.  The next-door neighbours did not know about the illegal ventilation system using the extractor attached to the next-door building.   So Mme. HARMONY decided to inform them.  She hoped that the wealthy residents of the large apartment building would sue Mr. PRIDE.  Her strategy worked, and the Syndic of the next door came to look at the extractor.  They had seen its top part on the roof before but did not know it was attached to their wall without their permission.  They were duly offended and immediately wrote a letter to Mr. PRIDE demanding he remove it, but Mr. PRIDE ignored the request despite the threat of legal action.  He knew they would not do it.

…and in this, he was right.  Not all their landlords agreed to spend money on lawsuits because only a few apartments facing the extractor are affected by the odour and the noise.  You would think the landlords of this building where I lived (barely) would answer the call of Mme. HARMONY, but no luck there either.  The owners of the apartments not situated closer to the restaurant could not care less about my plight.  One French man and one Greek man even went out of their way to oppose Mme HARMONY, telling her to leave Mr. PRIDE alone, hoping to get on this wealthy man's good side.  Paris is the city of love and light, but I had moved into a neighbourhood where money talked.

At least, I had Mme. HARMONY and I would do anything she suggested.

'You must stay home all day to record the noise from the restaurant as proof that later can be submitted to the authority.'

'What?  But I get sick from noise bashing on my neck, brain, lungs…in less than 30 minutes, I become nauseated, heart beating fast.'

Mme. HARMONY cut me short.  'In France, you must prove everything!'

'But Mr. PRIDE would say I made it all up.'

'Of course, he would.  That is why we must collect petitions from the residents.  The authority would accept your record if enough people testified there was noise.

So…I stopped escaping to the library, which had shielded me until 22:00 and stayed at my apartment.  I battled sickness all day and insomnia every night; symptoms caused by severe stress would appear after three weeks.  In the meantime, I tried to collect petitions—the tenants of Mme. HARMONY signed, but I struggled with other tenants.  They did not want to get involved unless instructed by their landlords.  Their landlords were on the side of Mr PRIDE the rich.  I was sinking into an abyss of hopelessness.