Sunday, 29 July 2018
The true horror stories in modern Paris part 81
After the phone call, I felt like a fool that I had just spent a whole day feeling lousy about myself for having denied Mme. Harmonie the access through my apartment. Caution told me to have the message heard by a French speaker, but I was convinced that she was making a demand that she did not deserve to make. So, I wrote another refusal message to Mr. Pride and the syndic, adding that I did not appreciate the aggressive tone of Mme. Harmonie. She never sugarcoats her words, which even her own employee admitted to me later, but I did not know that her usual tone was less soft than other French speakers.
Thus, I was astonished when I received an email from her that she did not call me that day. It turned out that I had replayed her old message making plans for our first meeting, which took place a month ago. A mistake is a mistake, so I apologized to her in writing immediately. Part of Japanese culture is ‘swift apology’. Japan is too small a nation to live with a reputation of ‘a loser who does not acknowledge one’s mistake.’ The only case we stubbornly refuse to apologize is when the recipients have elaborated the facts. We have compassion for the victims, but not any more if the victims turn into something else who treat the compensations they received like it never happened.
Back to my mistake. I had jumped to the conclusion. Mme. Harmonie deserved an apology. She further demanded a public apology in writing, which was fine except she also criticized Mme. Landlord whom I still adored at the time in the same email. I had also heard that Mme. Harmonie had spoken rudely to Mme. Landlord who accused the restaurant for having dumped their commercial rubbish into the residential area. I felt I had let down Mme. Landlord, so, I wrote an apology note to everyone in the building about my mistake, adding my plea to Mme. Harmonie that she should leave Mme. Landlord alone after this.
That night I wondered why I did not practice my usual caution before accusing Mme. Harmonie, and then realized with horror that I was acting with the sense of license as a victim of the restaurant from Hell. That it was so easy to blame someone without checking the facts, shocked me. I felt self-righteous and blamed someone for something she did not commit. In a beat I shifted from a victim to a perpetrator. Disgusting but I had acted like Mr. Justice, the most hypocrite of all! (Please, refer to the episode 71~73 for the details about Mr. Justice, or http://www.thethirdredapple.com/2018/04/the-bullied-takes-on-goliath-in-true_29.html)
I became afraid for my soul. The traditional potion passed down through my family protected my body, and the teaching of my Samurai ancestors saved my sanity, but my soul was still weak. I finally acknowledged the importance of religion. Their function was to shield our soul from corruption. My soul was in jeopardy indeed. However, it was not just the restaurant from Hell that pushed me towards the religion. It was Mme. Landlord, an atheist who dared to take over the God.
To be continued.