The restaurant from Hell landed near Notre-Dame in Paris-Part 8


The French are vivid conversationalists.  I already knew this, so I was not going to make a fuss over the restaurant's human-related noise.  Instead, I was more concerned about infrasound (low-frequency noise) emitted by machines because the study has discovered that prolonged exposure to infrasound leads to chronic headache, uneasy breathing caused by the suppression applied to one's chest, and eventually to depression that ends in suicide.  Infrasound is inaudible for some months until one day when your brain finally collapses to the weight of the accumulation of infrasound within the nerve system.  Thus, its name is 'the silent killer.  Commercial refrigerators, freezers, and ventilators are the most significant source of infrasound.  In Germany, it is regulated by the authority.  

I'm afraid it is near anarchy in France, which is sad because the scientist who first discovered infrasound was a French man.  The French are correct in considering them to be genius, and they make excellent regulations.  HOWEVER, they do not follow them up to ensure their beautiful rules are observed.  Occasionally, they do, but not nearly enough; thus, rigorous Germany is the leading nation in combatting infrasound, not France, where it was first discovered.  The USA was importing the insulation material designed to combat infrasound from Germany and Japan, but maybe they are manufacturing it themselves now. 

The lack of follow-up is convenient for folks like Mr PRIDE and Mme. HEART, who wished to cheat the French regulations at every opportunity.  Mme HEART wanted to install an enormous commercial refrigerator, but the French authority would not allow it on the ground floor of the residential buildings because the machines would be too noisy.  The basement was the permitted area, but Mme HEART wanted a trendy open kitchen where clients could watch the chefs cook.  'Well, the authority does not come around to check unless someone in the building complained,' said Mme HEART.  If no one complained for two months after the opening, then it would be deemed 'accepted' by the residents, and the authority would let the restaurant be without checking. 

So, agile Mme. HEART held off installing the enormous commercial refrigerator and other freezers for two months.  She regretted it when she learned that an Asian who barely spoke French was moving in.  Had she known this, she would have placed the order much sooner.  To this, Mr. PRIDE reminded her that the Asian woman was not a problem, but this one owner Mme. HARMONY had been demanding to see the infrastructure and facilities of his kitchen.  Mr PRIDE, of course, ignored all her requests.  Her apartment was near the restaurant, and her tenants would go mad from the noise, but that was not his problem.  The value of her apartment would depreciate significantly, but his commercial property (the restaurant) would go up, and that was all that mattered. 

Mme. HARMONY did not know the situation of Mr PRIDE, but she knew that the entire neighbourhood sued Mme. HEART for breaching every possible regulation in her last restaurant.  Mme. HEART was given the guilty verdict, but undaunted, she applied for another license for a new venue.  Thus there were no ways she could be trusted to run an ethical restaurant and Mme. HARMONY was justified to be afraid.  I was a little scared too, but I focused on applying DIY insulation materials to the ceiling in case another Leila moved into the apartment above.  Mme HEART invited all the residents to the upcoming Opening Night party, but I was not too interested.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris before the recent fire

Then it happened.  The hell-turbo suddenly engulfed my small apartment.  Refrigerators were the lesser of my problems.  Mr PRIDE had skimped on the cost and attached a second-hand commercial ventilator without a proper metal hood directly to the ceiling (aka my floor).  The sheer force of the unabated vibration penetrated every side of the stone-made building.  I felt like a bird trapped inside the engine of a flying aeroplane.  The strong force pinned me down to the floor… I had to push myself up with all my strength while losing balance to the vibration from below.  I was fast losing breath and felt my blood pressure rising.  I managed to stagger towards the small kitchen half shielded by a wall.  I gulped the water down instinctively, hoping to ease my heightened blood pressure.  

The restaurant from Hell had landed.  

I tumbled out of my apartment down to the ground floor.  I could see Mme. HEART, glamorously dressed up, flirting away with guests, not shedding a thought to the Hell she subjected me to.   I did not even exist in her mind judging from her jubilant face.   She motioned her staff to play loud music as if it was a disco in the middle of a residential area.   I ran out of the building. 

The beautiful city of Paris suddenly looked ominous.  The river Seine at night looked rebuffing.  You might advise me to move out of the hell apartment, but I had just signed a three-year contract with Patrick and his bank.  Cancellation fees would be exorbitant.  Also, my dream depended on obtaining Carte de Residence, so I needed a fixed address.  And yet my apartment was rendered inhabitable.  There was no hopeful path in front of me that I couldn't even cry.   

Still, I must turn around, return to the damaged apartment, and fight the losing battle.  In a country where I barely spoke the language.  Mr PRIDE and Mme. HEART had all the advantages.  They spoke French, knew the system, and had money and some connection in the high place.  However, Mme HEART lacked diligence and patience if her record was any indication.  If I put up enough fight, she might abandon the winnable battle and move on to easier prey.  Patience was the only advantage I had, but an abundance of it I possessed as a Japanese woman. 

The opening party was still on.  I passed the restaurant, went up the stairs, opened the door to my apartment… and again felt the onslaught of hellish noise.  I gritted my teeth and somehow managed to change into a presentable dress.  I must gather information about the restaurant, so I had to join the opening party.  'Bite the bullet', I told myself.  This has been my mantra since my high school years in an American school where I studied English.  I went downstairs to face Mme. HEART.  The superficial smile did not conceal her sly eyes.  Though feeling sick, weakened by the noise and worry, I still looked into her face and managed a smile.  That was my glove.