Sunday, 11 November 2018
The true horror stories in modern Paris part 94
I could not update my blog last week because of the pain in my wrist. It is healing slowly, but the pain returns whenever I stress it. But my mind was busy wrestling with many ideas about my identity. Then I thought I should start but analyzing each harmonious character in my true horror stories. Let me start with Mme. Landlord, the ruthless whipper of the weak while pretending to be their savior. How does such a personality develop?
The clue may be in the fact that she was not a born Parisian. Every city has a hierarchy that consists of the in-crowds that were born with the non-coded priority over those who joined the city from elsewhere. Mme. Landlord often spoke proudly of her birthplace, but her eyes betrayed her words. She chose not to return to her birthplace which speaks the truth. The late joiners of the city struggle to secure their place unless blessed with a tolerable wealth or some kind of accomplishments. Did Mme. Landlord have any of them? A daughter from a decent family would not grow up to be a scavenger of garbage rooms. Her sense of hygiene did not revolt against bringing a discarded mattress (run over by mouses) into her bedroom. Then how would an ambitious woman with no advantages navigate herself in a city? How would she climb up the social ladder?
By pretending to possess what the rich and the successful are stereotyped to be lacking it. Empathy. No other virtue has been more abused because you can act it while regular accomplishment requires a lot of hard work or even financial expenses. Mme. Landlord boasted of her volunteer works, boasted of getting involved in many good causes. It left unpleasant aftertaste that she would demand recognition or gratitude each time, unlike my acquaintances in Japan who had kept quiet about their volunteer works until I accidently found out. However, her tactics must have worked for Mme. Landlord because despite there were some who suspected her true color (Mr. Brave wrote about it) she managed to gain respect as a moral leader who became the equal to the rich and the successful among the circle which she had insinuated herself into. But there was one person who was not fooled. Herself.
Not naturally empathetic nor generous, her life-long acting would naturally take its toll on her. She vented her frustration on the weak whose voice would not be heard. She was all smile to an aristocrat gentleman while writing slander about him in her emails to me. I have written in one of my updates about the night when I was made to move her bulky furniture. It was not an isolated episode, of course, and one day she made me move other piece of her bulky furniture during the daytime. She came along to give me instructions, so I would not damage her old furniture, which was not precious enough for her to pay the taxi fares for. What was the point of having migrants around if you could not use them for free labor?
A couple of French women were chatting on the street. I had to stop because there was no room on the narrow street of Paris. I was about to politely ask them to let me pass when Mme. Landlord hurled some abusive comments to the women. Even I could understand the part ‘people have lost manner to make space for others in Paris!’ The two women looked hurt more than offended and said something softly in French as they stepped aside. I felt compelled to apologize to the French women for the rude behavior of Mme. Landlord while she walked past them triumphantly. Where was this moral leader Mme. Landlord passed herself as? What was to become of her?