To be continued.
Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Sunday, 29 April 2018
Monday, 23 April 2018
Sunday, 8 April 2018
You might wonder why I was not disappointed that Mme. Empathy did not get her uppercomance. First, I had not expected any because this is not a movie, but a true story in the real life. Secondly, it was all those men who had bent the rules and morality to indulge her ever since she could remember. What young woman would not be affected by that? What woman would even think of doing the right things or playing by the rules after such easy rides? I have no sympathy for those men who ended up being trodden by her. I was just sooooo grateful that I had survived the woman.
The new owner, I shall call her Miss Harmony because she sent a letter to every resident and every landlord that she would like to talk and come to an amicable agreement. No one replied, except me. I felt sorry for the woman who had been lied to and invested her savings into this dodgy restaurant permit. If she could agree to insulate the ceiling of the restaurant, I would have loved to make peace with Mr Pride for her sake. With this high expectation, I went to meet the woman with Mme. Landlord.
Miss Harmony was leaning against the wall, puffing out the smoke. She agreed to check the noise in my room, but her tone worried me. Miss Harmonie walked into my room and closed the window and told Mme. Landlord that I should keep my windows closed all the time if the restaurant noise bothered me. Mme. Landlord hit back, ‘People have the right to enjoy fresh air from the opened windows!’ I gasped that a restaurant owner who serves food to the public should have little regards to the well-being of others. Undaunted, Miss Harmonie turned to me all of sudden in English demanded that I admit that the noise of the kitchen did not bother me.
Now, she came in the morning when there were no clients in the restaurant. There was only one chef and he was standing quietly in front of the cooking table. It would be different once the guests came in and the chef and his assistant chef would be rushing around the kitchen, opening and bang closing the refrigerator. As I tried to explain this I saw a crafty grin on Mme. Harmonie. She knew all these but trying to feed her words into my mouth. I said ‘it would be different at later hours.’ Mme. Harmonie was adamant to trap me. ‘But are you annoyed by the noise now?’ Seeing that she was not going to let up, I had to resort to shaking my head slightly. It was ‘no’, but I gave her no words to quote me later. She was taken back in silence.
She was condescending and her term of harmonious agreement was ‘we agree to all her demands, but not vice versa.’ later Mme. Landlord creased her face and spat ‘Do not expect this tenant to reciprocate decency. She is from the lowest end of the society!’ Now I do not claim to know much about the society in France, but I had been surprised that Mme. Harmonie allowed her team to do renovation work over 4 weekends in a row in this respective area of Paris where sensible people refrain from doing washing on Sundays. Even Mme. Empathy left us in peace on Sundays to show some class.
Still, I was a tad surprised to detect classism in Mme. Landlord's tone.
To be continued.
Thursday, 22 February 2018
Finally, Mme. Landlord received the news that Mr. Pride was going to re-install the ventilation properly. It was done while I was at school and the noise from the ventilation indeed dropped. However, Mme. Empathy had not yet insulted her kitchen ceiling. Other decent restaurants in Paris would either install their noisy machines in the basement, or rent or buy the first floor above the kitchen to protect their neighbours from the noise. Of course, Mme. Empathy would install her kitchen on the ground floor directly under the residential apartments. This meant I would continue to be exposed to the mechanical noise during the night.
Then puzzling incidents unravelled. As a rule if a restaurant in Paris got caught more than 3 times for breaking the regulations of public health the authority would suspend the restaurant for one month. Well, the police had already caught Mme. Empathy 5 times breaching the regulations. However, the restaurant from Hell was still open. The police would have reported her case to the authority, but oddly the report was ignored. Furthermore, the old Major who was particularly sympathetic to my case could not be contacted anymore. As if he had been transferred elsewhere.
It was about this time when I saw a man with the air of self-assurance dining at the restaurant and Mme. Empathy was serving him herself. Mme. Landlord was adamant that it was the man of high-profile whose friendship Mme. Empathy boasted about, but I never believed a word Mme. Empathy said. Besides, 2/3 of the noise was removed finally and I was happy to invest in insulation materials to combat the remaining noise. Mme. Landlord was pleased and as my first French friend, her smile alone was my rewards.
And then out of blue, Mme. Empathy sold her business to a group of amateurs. To be continued.
Saturday, 10 February 2018
A week later, Mme. Empathy was in a foul mood. ‘That Japanese imp called the police for 5 nights straight! I thought she didn’t speak French!’ It was so embarrassing seeing those policemen calling the party off in her restaurant. Most clients blamed the caller, but there were some who complained that they did not get their money worth. They would not return and that hurt. It was easy to fool young policemen with her smile. ‘But officers, we are in the process of resolving the problem. Please, give us time.’ Of course, she had no intention to spend a cent to solve the problem, but with her victim act she managed to send policemen away.
However, there was this older major who was not fooled. He had been moved by the tone of this Japanese caller, so desperate and vulnerable. The situation had to be dire if someone with such a limited French would have to call every night. He did a research and soon discovered that Mme. Empathy had been sentenced to pay the fine for her irresponsible management of another restaurant. The major may have taken it as a mockery to the authority of the French police that Mme. Empathy would again open another restaurant just 2 minutes away.
After the policemen broke up another party, Mme. Empathy was defiant. She told the guests that the party would go on and turned on the music again. She smirked imagining the Japanese bug, distressed at the prospect of another long sleepless night. That bug needs to be taught not to mess with the grand dame that was Mme. Empathy. However…
‘Madame!’ The policemen barked as they returned 10 minutes later because they had not yet returned to the station. Mme. Empathy could not believe that I called the police twice in the same night.
The French neighbors would not call the police because they believed that the restaurant would not last long, but also the French tend to leave the dirty work to the others. But I am a Japanese woman who was raised to be the rock behind her men. Submissive, but diligent, meticulous and finally, patient.
To be continued.
Saturday, 20 January 2018
The electricity risk was removed but the noise persisted. As Mme. Empathy would stick to delaying tactics, I had to act.
What is not widely known is that there is in fact a regulation that forbids all the restaurants in Paris to make noise after 22:30. However, the authority will force it only if a resident of the building places a call to the police. Therefore, it is one regulation that is defunct because most tenants do not know this. Hell, even I did not know this until so informed by Mme. Landlord. Then what about the owner-residents, you may ask. After the arrival of AIRBNB, the landlords now prefer to lend their apartments out for a big profit while they move to the suburbs. They do not care if their tenants suffer any noise. There will always be unsuspecting tenants applying for apartments in Paris. Their cold attitude hardened even more by the system of AIRBNB.
Therefore, it fell on me to call the police
because the tenants on the same floors had already left. Their landlords
did not knock the rent down like my landlord. She was a rare gem.
Mme. Landlord would call the police herself, but she did not live in the
building. So with a shaking hand I dialed 17, the police. The
message was given in French and English. Relieved, I opted for
English. However, the person who took the call blatantly lied to me that ‘Paris never sleeps’ and hang up. He thought I was a tourist. So, I tried
again in French which was not still not good. The woman who took my call
had no patient and hang up. I thought I heard a jeering laughter of Mme.
Empathy as the music blasted on filling up my apartment along with the
extractor vibrating noise. I had to cower back to the small corner of my
kitchen and cried.
The following day, I rehearsed my lines over and over. I called the police for the third time and a young man answered. He tried to pull one over me, but I insisted in French that it was against the rule to be noisy after 22:30. I live in Paris, I added. He uttered, 'Ah' and transferred me to the police station of the appropriate district. A sympathetic major answered my call and he took the address of the restaurant from HELL. He also took down my phone number and promised to send his men. After the call, I waited without much hope.
Then it happened. 30 minutes later, all the noise stopped, the ventilator and the music. Well, not all because I could hear a hysterical voice of a woman. Mme. Empathy? Or her new waitress? Whoever. The police in Paris had taken my call seriously and stopped the devil…for the night.
To be continued
Saturday, 6 January 2018
Saturday, 30 December 2017
To be continued.
Friday, 22 December 2017
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Friday, 8 December 2017
Saturday, 21 October 2017
It was about 02:00 am. I woke up from a strong heartbeat. It would not stop beating faster. I heard a buzzing beam and realized that all the electric appliances in my studio was reacting to something. Strong nausea came over me as my mobile phone emitted buzzing noise as if it was electrified. Yes! Some kind of electricity was leaking into my sanctuary. I felt stinging sensation all over my face and a throbbing headache. I tried to escape but my entire studio was flooded with something that everywhere I touched I felt the stinging electricity. My body would not move well from fever, but I knew if I did not get out the apartment right away I may not live to see another day.
Saturday, 14 October 2017
Mme. Empathy was furious when the police ordered her to insulate her ventilator because it she did not want to invest much into her business. She was never into running a good restaurant. There is a record of her summon to the court following a big petition signed by her former neighbors whose lives had been wrecked by her irresponsible management of her last restaurant. But it did not hurt her one bit because in Paris you can always sell the restaurant permit and make a huge profit. Therefore, it was essential for Mme. Empathy to invest as little as possible. One of it was installing a cooking ventilator without insulating hood (which you would find in any normal restaurant kitchen). It damaged my health, but what did she care? Mme. Empathy was counting the huge profit she would make by selling the permit to a sucker. Sure her reputation follows her everywhere, but she just needs to apply under someone else’s name and partners in crimes she has no shortage of.
Mme. Empathy opted to delaying tactics while wearing me down. This really hurt. One of my eyes was twitching and I had lost the sense of the tip of my tongue. Mr. Pride knew about my suffering but he could not care less. That I was not meekly bowing to his demands was far more unacceptable. The team Restaurant from Hell decided to up their game.
Then appeared this man in our courtyard. I still remember that day in March when Mme. Landlord asked who he was. He came to replace the previous chef (who had quitted claiming that Mme. Empathy was a snake). He smiled sincerely at both of us, promising to make things better for me. Instinct told me to fear him but I was so worn down that I wished to believe this man whom I shall refer to as Mr. Sincere.
To be continued.
Saturday, 7 October 2017
Saturday, 23 September 2017
Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Saturday, 26 August 2017
Saturday, 19 August 2017
To be continued.