Stark reality of living in Paris as a poor, French or not-Part 12

EPISODE 12

I only know Australia and Japan's legal systems first-hand. They both have this one rescue plan for the victims (if their system has not changed): the losers of the lawsuit must pay for the legal fees incurred on both sides. This is a friendly option for the poor because should a lawyer be convinced that the victim had a solid case, the lawyer would defend the victim and then later send the bill to the defendant who lost the lawsuit. This makes predators think twice about messing with the weak. However, in France, plaintiffs must pay for the legal fees, win or lose and the lawyers would not take on your case if you cannot produce a lump sum upfront. They need to make a living too, so there is no criticism. 


Of course, the legal fees in France are as expensive as in other countries, if not more. This makes it too easy for the rich to tramp on the poor. The poor cannot push the rich back. This is why Mr. PRIDE could audaciously order me to make my life more miserable so he could make more money.   He did not even have malice that I could react to. To him, it was how things were done. His families were on the top of the food chain, and I should not even possess the sense to feel the pain, let alone thoughts. As for my life…what life? He was genuinely puzzled, and he would just need to squash the bug, and it would be back to normal. Little did I know that Mr PRIDE would act upon this later.

 

You may say, 'but surely, the French must have some savings to pay the legal fees?' I thought so too, until I discovered how the salaries are paid in gross disproportion. The band of middle-class income households is thinner than in countries like Australia and Japan.  France is divided between The have and The have not. The French government protects the health of the poor. It subsidizes basic food, but this still does not provide money for luxury, legal fees included. Thus, despite the assertive image of the French people, I find them patient in real life. Extremely patient and resigned when need be. They remind themselves that life is meaningless if one does not look away from the cruel reality and enjoy what you have. They seek Joie de vivre in good home cooking using the quality ingredients from the market and arts abundant in this city of light and culture. 

 

However, this peaceful boat is often rocked by some immigrants with money like Mr. PRIDE and the group of connections that support Mme. HEART. They take advantage of ordinary French, tourists, and immigrants with limited income to advance their financial interests.  Mr. PRIDE clearly expected me to fall in line…but I was from Japan, a nation of 'nearly all-middle income class.' The salaries there are not high, but every six months, the company's profits are shared among all the workers as Bonus pay-outs. This ensures the undying loyalty of the workers to the company. Things are different for the younger generations, but this is how it was in my days. The Japanese live in modest-looking lodgings and do not look flash, but they can afford to save. 


I am not rich, but I had savings that I had meant to spend on furnishing the apartment. I made makeshift furniture out of cardboard boxes to spend the money on legal fees. So there I was, living in the centre of Paris where tourists flocked but surrounded by cardboard boxes. The floor is covered with insulation materials. Oh, how chic. This logically should not happen, but it is true. Thus, my blog is unique among many blogs or videos reporting their luxurious life in Paris. 

I have nothing to boast about and will not be the envy of the readers. However, you get to know the reality of Paris living. 

Mirror that reflects your soulSo, Mr. PRIDE and Mme. HEART would receive a little prick from me, a forgettable and crushable bug, according to these two. You would think you need to be a landlord to file a complaint against French restaurants, but to my surprise, tenants could also report noisy or smelly restaurants to the police, free of charge. Did not Mr. PRIDE worry that I might do this? No, because you have to communicate fully in French with the inspector, and Mr. PRIDE knew I was just starting to learn French. It would have been economical to hire an interpreter, but this French lawyer informed me of this system. I did not want to be ungrateful, so I signed the contract with this French lawyer working for an Asian boss. Under this circumstance, I expected my lawyer would not be too racist or at least know enough to hide it. That was enough in this real world. 

My lawyer sent the email to the police, and I was hopeful for a moment, only to be cast down by his comment. 'It may be months before the police even reply. This is Paris. There are too many cheating restaurants and bars.' He was not exaggerating. While the inhuman noise terrorized me (so the police later acknowledged), it became my habit to observe apartments located above the restaurants in Paris. Only a handful was occupied, but the rest seemed deserted… in stark contrast to the restaurant below blasting music away. My lawyer informed me that all restaurants must stop making noise after 22:30 in Paris. Good eateries, such as those mentioned in Michelin, abide by it, but not the bad ones whose food alone is insufficient to draw in any gourmet Parisians. Thus they break the regulations and play music loud till late, hoping the police do not come around to catch them. This is one sign for you to watch out for if you wish to avoid being conned next time you are in Paris to dine. 

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