The world is attracted to Paris, the city of light, but if you stay to live the shadow beneath her reveals itself to you eventually…at least it has to me. Through my daily struggle in Paris, I began to realize what possessed me to title this blog as ‘the third red apple.’ An initial hint is in the pages available in English and French, but little did I know that it was just a beginning.
With the departure of the Asian chef, the last ounce of conscious left the restaurant. New replacement chefs, there were a few of them as not one lasted long under Mme. Empathy’s management, they would all set the ventilator at the maximum strength convinced that a due insulation had been applied. Of course, it would not occur to Mme. Empathy to correct their error. So I was exposed to both the high and low-frequency noise, the latter which rocked my wall and furniture. While the high-frequency noise would offend our hearing, the low-frequency noise would penetrate our skin and grab our internal organs to shake it relentlessly. The shaking furniture showed me what was happening inside me.
Ironically, it was a French researcher who first discovered the damage of low-frequency noise, yet it is the citizens of other nations, Germany for one, that are protected by the regulations. While the human ears eventually would get used to the high-frequency noise, the low-frequency noise would be accumulated inside our system and the symptoms would appear after months, making it difficult to pinpoint the cause. In my case I was exposed to the intense level that I developed the symptoms after only 2 months: insomnia, dizziness, stiff shoulder and neck muscle and finally numbness of hands that I frequently started to drop things. All the articles on low-frequency noise suffers’ syndrome say it would lead to depression and a few years later…suicide. Thus its alternative name is ‘Silent Killer.’ I booked a room elsewhere to escape after the two months period was up. (Please, read the part 25 that explains the importance of two months)
It was finally two days away from the two months expiry date. I had submitted the noise diary, the hours and the level, to my lawyer. By this time, my sense had weakened so much that even church bells could punch me in between my lungs. In fact, any noise could jerk my body. There was no rest inside my brain…and yet it happened. The shrieking drilling noise penetrated my floor from the restaurant. Mme. Empathy had decided to install a giant electric appliance for which she did not receive permission from the authority. I thought it had been a hell, but the rock bottom was yet to come.
Mme. Empathy was being confronted by her chef. ‘Madame, you lied to me. I only agreed to install the extracting ventilation directly on the ceiling because you assured me that the ceiling had been insulated.’ Mme. Empathy replied with a smile ‘but it is! I cannot do any more insulation than this.’ He did not quite believe her because this chef did not abuse the extractor to his credit. Any chef would know the hell I was being put through upstairs. At least the other chefs I had the chance to consult was aghast.
I was incessantly hit by relentless vibration that my hands started to shake regularly. My lungs and my necks felt oppressed that I desperately needed to leave the apartment. However, I had to go back and record everything for at least one month. The police would only come and measure the noise level only after I have suffered and got affected by it. My lawyers needed time to gather all the necessary documents and the tribunal in France required HEAPS. Many times I had to grit my teeth to prevent myself from vomiting. Every time the extractor stopped I would drop down on the floor like a puppet with a string that got snapped. At least 10 hours of this every day and all the muscles around my neck and my shoulder became stiff as rock.
Mme. Empathy was annoyed that her mood was ruined by being reminded of me. I knew she was more angry than sorry because I had run into her one morning. She looked at me like a trouble maker whom she had every right to be indignant with. She tried to get the chef to agree with her by saying, ‘that Asian woman is exaggerating to deceive money out of us. It can’t be that bad if she is staying. Asians can breed in any kind of conditions, can’t they?’ like cockroaches, she means. She was not born a French but a naturalized one. Mme. Empathy did not realize that her chef, whom she had hired in order to ride on the Asian cuisine wave in Paris, did not reply. Shortly afterwards, the Asian chef quit the restaurant. This I heard from the other chef who would also quit the restaurant later.
Mme. Landlord was on the phone. ‘Mais, Non!’
She repeated in utter exasperation.
Mr. Pride had called her to demand access to his roof through her
apartment’s window where I rent, so his workers could install a sky roof on his
restaurant. Mme. Empathy believed that
the lack of a sky roof was the reason her restaurant was sparsely occupied. You would think that good food with honest
price is the keys to more customers, but not Mme. Empathy, our lady with substance. So here he was, Mr. Pride, demanding that I complied
his request. He knew I was suffering insomnia
and was weakened. Mme. Landlord defended me, ‘You and Mme.
Empathy keeps installing electric appliances that make loud noise all night long,
which keep my tenant up every night. I have
told you this many times!’
Mr. Pride interrupted Mme. Landlord with a
scoff. ‘Your tenant chose to live above a restaurant. Where does she get off complaining?’
Mme. Landlord corrected him, ‘I too live above a restaurant in the other building,
but the restaurant owner there is causing no problems. Why can’t you do the right thing and pay for
the insulation? You are a wealthy man with
many business, Mr. Pride!’ But alas, he kept demanding that ‘this Asian
woman should stop feeling sick and open her door to the tradesmen.’ He was relentless with the woman senior to him by 20 years or more. Mme. Landlord
pleaded him to let her keep her doctor’s appointment, but he kept demanding for nearly two hours until
she finally dropped the telephone receiver from exhaustion.
In the meantime I filled out a form to be submitted to the Police with the help of a lawyer. I was hopeful for a moment, only to be cast down by his comment. 'It may be months before the police even replies. This is France. There are too many cheating restaurants and bars.'
No wonder there was a time when Japan had more Michelin starred restaurants than in France. To be continued.
Without women tenants’ participation, I had
to make a case for the nuisance of the restaurant by myself. Mme. Landlord could not help me with this
because she did not reside in the building herself. For my complaint to be accepted by the police
I had to live in inhabitable apartments to record all the activities by the
restaurant that were making it inhabitable.
It should not have to be this hard, but I moved into my kitchen aka my
living room and bedroom for some times to come.
The smug laughter of the restaurant
staff was heard too that I quickly pushed earplugs into my ears. However, the noise pierced even those earplugs that I dreaded the long hours of ventilation hell from the restaurant
below. According to Mme. Empathy and her
staff, I should just parish.
However, before long Mme. Empathy’s the
restaurant started to go quiet during the dinner hours. Mme. Empathy’s reputation had preceded her that no respectable locals would dine there. Winter was
coming and terror attacks in Paris had stopped the flow of tourists. The empty looking restaurant suffered a stark
contrast with the other restaurants nearby that were filled with the locals and
the ex-pats. Mme. Empathy had designed it
so that there would be a lot of dining seats, which left very little space for the kitchen. The crammed kitchen must have inconvenienced
the chefs. Those sparsely occupied seats
in a large dining area enhanced the emptiness of the restaurant. All this was visible from the street. ‘A
good restaurant would pick up after a few weeks in Paris,’ said Mme.
Landlord. The restaurant was not an instant success.
However, some food critic wrote a glowing review on the restaurant. This was the
same writer who had praised Mme. Empathy’s previous restaurant that closed in
red figures. I do not intend to
discredit the review and the writer who was probably served a special dinner
made with better ingredients than the meals Mme. Empathy would normally serve
the ordinary clients. However, this is
one good example that Michelin Guide is still the one to be trusted, despite
all the criticism. The Michelin agents dine
‘incognito’ leaving no room for special treatments by the restaurant. I imagine the Michelin agents would refrain
from taking photos of the food while the food bloggers would snap away, a
tell-tell sign to alert the restaurants’ people. The worst case is the critics being chummy
with the managers.
Mme. Empathy was going to break more rules
and morals. To be continued.
Still, Mme. Landlord did her best salvaging the unfair situation with a petition. She hoped that it would prompt the other
landlords, who do not reside in the building themselves, to get involved. A couple of my neighbours signed the petition
and Mme. Landlord entrusted me with the task of talking to this one girl tenant who was also annoyed by the noise from the restaurant. ‘I wanted them to close
that restaurant!’ she had spattered to me, so I took Mme. Landlord’s signed petition with full of hope.
I was startled when I saw a male figure in
the corridor near my door because I recognized the man to be a waiter at the
restaurant when I went to see Mme. Empathy.
To my surprise, he smiled and greeted me a musical ‘Bonjour.’ He was convinced of his charm and melting smile,
except it froze me inside. I saw his
eyes were condescending, but at the same time with a purpose. Instead of going back to my room to get the
petition letter, I went pass by him to go out the building. As I passed by the restaurant I spotted
another figure inside: Mme. Empathy. She
had a half-smile as she looked at me.
Instinct told me that she may have sent the young man to me. Did they think that I would accept the horrible condition they subjected me for a piece of flirtation? What idiot would fall for that? Impossible!
Not really. When I later returned to the building, I saw
the young man from the restaurant and my neighbour girl tenant getting cosy. Or more precisely, the girl was giggling away, obviously smitten. Whatever happened to her previous anger against the noisy restaurant? Her new affection,
however, was not reciprocated judging from the coldness in the young man’s
eyes, but he was indulging her.
Needless to say, that I could not secure
the signatures of the girl tenant for the petition against the
restaurant. I could not believe that
those women could not see through the ploy of Mme. Empathy and her staff. Never again shall I blame men for falling for
honey pot traps. Women are no wiser. To
Mr Pride raised an eyebrow on learning
that Mme. Landlord had reported his act of breach of trust to the Syndic. However, he knew the Syndic would not oppose him because he was the largest shareholders
of the building, and thus had the power to fire the Syndic. Despite the claim of being the nation of equal
rights, France is severely polarized society that favours the elites and the rich. The frequent strike that French workers are renowned
for is more like act of desperation rather than defiance.
Indeed, the CEO of the Syndic refrained
from taking any actions against the restaurant.
The blow struck Mme. Landlord hard and shocked me.
There was no way she could gather consent of the other landlords to hire
a lawyer against Mr Pride in time.
Three weeks had already passed since the legal permit was granted to the
restaurant. Mme. Empathy was confident
that two months provisional limitation would pass without a hitch. I
could foresee the hell that would follow after the expiration date, not that it
was not already hell in my apartment.
The sight of all the deserted rooms above restaurants in Paris crossed
my mind. The victims of the financially polarized
However, I was from Japan, a nation of ‘nearly
all-middle income class.’ I am not a
rich person, but had a saving that I had meant to spend on learning French
culture. I was at the crossroad: one
was to keep my saving and leave France; the other was to learn the French
culture in a hard but the most unusual manner.
To gather information I contacted a lawyer and found out a tenant like me could still ask the police for a help with the excess noise.
‘Incroyable!’ (unbelievable), she repeated over
and over as Mme. Landlord read the copy of the restaurant authorization granted
to our infamous Mme. Empathy at the office of PASU.
We had expected lies about the insufficient
insulation in her kitchen, but Mme. Empathy had falsely reported to the
authority about the lack of consent of the other landlords on many other issues. For this she did not act alone. Her landlord, Mr. Pride had betrayed the
trust of the other landlords of the building.
In order to protect the quality of the living condition of their homes,
the other landlords stipulated a list of conditions to Mr. Pride. One of them was a partial installation of a
glass roof. The other landlords had voted
to reject this request fearing that it would transmit noise and flickering
light at night to the apartments nearby.
Mr. Pride blatantly ignored this decision and wrote to the authority
PASU that the other landlords had unanimously agreed to his request. As the result, PASU granted the permission
for its installation.
Mme. Landlord left to inform this discovery
to the Board/le Syndic. I went home
which was more like an inferno without flame.
My heart sped up as I entered my apartment. I ran into the kitchen, a tiny sanctuary from
the blowing force. The ear plugs I had
purchased could not block out all the noise and the vibration travelled through
the air and the floor pressuring my lungs and my neck. I should have been angry at Mr. Pride and Mme.
Empathy who had no problems putting other human beings through this. However, I also learnt that they did not even
remember me and would never bother themselves with the thought. The true evil has no malice which is still
essentially a human emotion. Therefore, without
malice Mme. Empathy genuinely believed her to be a lovely person and whoever got
in her was the nasty vermin. As for Mr.
Pride, winning was everything. Again I
felt no malice from him because to him I was not worth acknowledging its
existence. Therefore, I saw no points in
becoming enraged at the perpetrators.
My strange lack of anger helped me assess
the situation with a cool head. I would
have to stay away from this place until the restaurant kitchen closed. Of course, I would still be exposed to their
electric appliances piercing through their non-insulated ceiling and onto my
floor throughout every night so an extra mattress would have to be purchased. The Syndic would surely help by righting the
I was still naïve and new to the French society. To be continued.
After the successful opening party of the previous night Mme.
Empathy stood there glowing. However when
Mme. Landlord and I entered the restaurant Mme. Empathy looked at us as if we
Mme. Landlord politely explained the situation, but was
rudely interrupted. Mme. Empathy glared at me and spoke to me in
English to my surprise. She insisted that I did not hear anything.
If I did then it was me being oversensitive. She then turned to Mme.
Landlord and said in French ‘You should pay for the insulation, not me.’ Not knowing this, I naively begged Mme. Empathy
to at least refrain from using the dishwasher after midnight. She looked me straight in my eyes and said, ‘we
have no dishwasher.’ I could see one in the kitchen and pointed
at it. ‘Oh,
that is not it’. Without even once
flickering in eye. I realized that I was
dealing with a pathological liar. Logical
thing would be for me to walk away, but her command of English puzzled me. It was too good for a French. It turned out that Mme. Empathy was French
only by national. It was a typical case
of immigrants dumping on other immigrants.
I observed Mme. Landlord as we walked out the
restaurant. She was looking fragile every
day because of her age. She was a
good French lady, very sympathetic to immigrants. What would it make me
if I abandoned her after all the compassion she had shown me? Another ungrateful immigrant, of course and I
refused to go down that path. We
Japanese maybe many thing, but ungrateful is not one of them. So I opted to stay above the restaurant from Hell and fight with Mme. Landlord.
Together we headed for PASU, the authority that approved
the infrastructure of the restaurant. Mme.
Landlord was sure that Mme. Empathy had lied to the authority. To be continued.
I returned to my building after midnight
but the guests were still in the restaurant. The drunks were laughing away with
Mme. Empathy. But I was
relieved to find that the chef was outside smoking so at least there would be no
more cooking. This chef was an Asian
which is considered trendy in Paris these days.
He did not know then that Mme. Empathy would later reveal her racism and
threw him out after stealing his French-Asian fusion recipe. A woman who tramps down her neighbors would
have no scruples mistreating her employees.
However, there was one group of people Mme.
Empathy would turn her charm on and that was 'elites'. She boasted of being chummy with famous food
critics. Even her brother had a
connection with someone in the authority. Can such a thing be possible in an advanced
nation like France? But how do you
explain the fact that their permit to open a restaurant was granted by one
person at the Council only a few months after the first application was turned
down by a different person?
I walked up the stairs expecting my apartment
to be quieter, but even after the cooking had finished I could still hear the
staff’s every movement, every shelf and indoor door slam shut as they were in
the same room. Mme. Empathy and Mr.
Pride had not insulated their ceiling AT ALL and yet they were granted the approval by PASU for the facilities in their restaurant. In Paris, you need two types of permit, one
from the Council and one from PASU, but our two clever pair managed to cheat both
systems. To my dismay, their dishwasher
was set in motion. Even in France the
electricity rate is cheaper after midnight.
Of course, Mme. Empathy would take advantage of that. Eventually the guests and the staff would
leave, but I was to be left behind exposed to their electric appliances for
After the sleepless night, I opened my door to
Mme. Landlord. She saw my distress but was
too honest to offer me unrealistic consolation.
In silence one old lady with one Asian woman headed for the restaurant. Power was not on our side. To be continued.
The hell-turbo engulfed my apartment. The invisible but strong force gripped my
lungs and pinned me down onto the floor…which transmitted the vibration from
the extractor of the restaurant directly into my body. 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 the blood
I managed to stagger towards the small
kitchen that was half shielded by a wall.
I gulped water down instinctively in hope to ease my heightened blood
pressure. With my shaking fingers I
called Mme. Landlord. She immediately
perceived my distress. There was concern
in her voice which felt like a ray of light in dark. She promised to come the first thing the
following morning to speak to the restaurant.
This small new hope gave me enough strength to go back out to the hell
turbo, walk across to the door and leave my apartment. I ran out of the building, passing the
restaurants where guests were making merry with drinks. Mme. Empathy was flirting away with guests,
not shedding a thought to the hell she had subjected me to. In fact, I did not even exist in her mind judging
from her jubilant face.
I could see that the opening party was to
continue until midnight, or even later, so I started to roam around. 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 already changed my address several times because of an
attempted burglary, crooked locksmiths, a dishonest landlord and rats. It was not recommendable thing to change
addresses frequently if one wants to renew one’s visa in France. It may spell the end of my humble dream if I
moved again and I was no longer young. And yet, I already knew that Mme. Empathy would not make anything better.
I rang my home in Japan and did a thing
that I had not done in many many years—crying to my mother like a lost child. To be continued. <a href="//english.blogmura.com/ranking.html"><img src="//english.blogmura.com/img/english88_31.gif" width="88" height="31" border="0" alt="にほんブログ村 英語ブログへ" /></a><br /><a href="//english.blogmura.com/ranking.html">にほんブログ村</a>
In spite of everything Paris continues to
draw people in for many reasons, but one of mine was to fulfill the dream of my
parents. They wished to live there
basking in her historical glories. As an
Asian with no siblings, it was all up to me to make this happen and my father’s
mind was gradually being eroded by Altimizers. Time was running out so I settled on this
apartment in Le Marais.
Thus I came face to face with the notorious
Mme. Empathy whose desire was to have fun at the expense of other people. Her smile made me feel uneasy, but I needed
to ask her to show me her kitchen. I was
initially hesitant to live above a restaurant, but my parents had weak knees
that they could only walk up to low floors.
As the small apartment was not above the client seats area I had decided
to move in. The kitchen noise from below
should be manageable with insulation and so in order to insulate my place effectively
I needed to see where her kitchen appliances were installed. To my request Mme. Empathy obliged with a
smile and pointed at a refrigerator which was only slightly bigger than a
domestic refrigerator. Something did not
sit right with me, but she kept talking and talking that I could not think
straight. Against my better judgement I
forced myself to believe her smile and left quickly. Such was her manipulative gift.
Then it began. The chef switched on their cooking
ventilation attached directly to their ceiling with no insulation. The vibration force virtually threw me away
from that particular spot. It was like
inside the airplane engine. The heat
would have scorched me had it been summer.
The only sanctuary was my kitchen but the hellish noise and vibration
would continue for 8 hours straight in preparation for their opening
party. I could not move because of the oppressive
force on my lungs that rendered me immobile.
With my shaking fingers I dialed Mme. Landlord. It was beginning of my long dark days in Paris. To be continued. <a href="//www.blogmura.com/point/01365672.html?type=image"><img src="//blogparts.blogmura.com/parts_image/user/pv01365672.gif" alt="PVアクセスランキング にほんブログ村" /></a>
Needless to say I caught up with
my long awaited restful sleep in Wien the first few days. As I
regained my strength I assessed the situation. The bar next door
should not be too much problems as the owner-residents would surely take care
of the noise once they are back from Christmas holidays. So it was
back to those two anti-socials upstairs.
Perhaps I could notify the owner
and the police and stay away from Paris for a while. That would have
cost me unnecessary expenses, but quitting Paris for good never occurred to
me. Not until I got harassed by the French. Leila was from Algeria and she seemed determined to defy anything French including the French regulations. She was determined to establish superiority over me the Asian by any means, mostly foul. She may try but those two
misfit foreigners were not going to drive me away from Paris. Besides…something
told me the things were going to be all right as I listened to the God sent
voice of angels by the Vienna Boys’ Choir.
In January I returned to my
place. As I climbed up the stairs I noticed the air was light. I
said this before but people’s negative aura carries an actual weight. An
old lady passed by and wished me Bonne Année with the news that Leila and her
fiancé had left. Or rather gotten kicked out by their
landlord. Now if you remember of this poor tourist who came knocking
on my door for a hair dryer because Leila had taken hers with her. I
felt so sorry for this innocent tourist whose dream holidays in Paris was
ruined by the endless party noise from the bar next door that before I left for
Wien I asked this old lady neighbor to rent this tourist a hair dryer. I
would have rented out mine, but I was not going to return before this tourist
It turned out that this building
had a strict regulation against the tenants renting out to the tourists without
the knowledge of the landlords. The old lady neighbor promptly
informed Leila’s landlord who immediately kicked Leila out. The fate
may have intervened through the misdemeanor of the bar next door to which Leila
and her fiancé responded with greed. They thought to extract some cash
from tourists while they escaped the party noise at their parents’. I
could not touch those two anti-socials, but their own greed could.
I sat down and cried from
relief. However, this is Paris. It would not end without
one more twist. To be continued.
Fate—a factor you cannot overuse in fictions lest the plot becomes unrealistically convenient. Thus the characters have to take the matters in their hands. The readers cheer on while fully being aware that it does not happen in real life. As this is my true story I could only wait for the fate to intervene. I could not even move out the apartment because the agent would want to know the reason for breaking the contract. If I told them, they would contact the landlord of Leila and that would tick off her fiancé. Thus, I was barely surviving with a sound masking application which softens the onslaught of the washing machine and her relentless high-heel strikes on the floor without carpets.
Then one night a blast of disco music blocked out every sound in the world. It was coming from the next door bar whose manager had no respect for the thin walls of the historic buildings. The drumming beat continued to hit me until 03:00 in the morning. Maybe longer but my memory stops there. Hours later when I woke up shivering. It was not from cold but from my extreme stress. The tip of my tongue had lost sense, just like Mr. A. had lost his. It was December the party month. Staying in this environment until the New Year’s Eve would really break me. With shivering fingers I booked a flight to Wien, Austria. I must spend nights in a café for 5 days until the departure. I would have left sooner but in December, the tickets were scarce.
Fortunately, the party at the next door pub repeated just once. But on the fourth night, there was a tap on my door. I jumped out of my skin, but realized that the tap was soft. So I opened the door and saw a demure looking French girl. She wanted to borrow my hairdryer because Leila had rent out her apartment without one. Leila and her fiancé had wished to escape the bar’s noise too. While it never occurred to me to get someone to pay for staying in this hell, these two had no moral issues about it, of course. I rented the poor tourist my hairdryer which she promptly returned hours later. Soon after that the drumming of party started at the bar. I gritted my teeth telling myself it was for just one more night.
As I could not sleep I left while it was still dark. Never thought I would want to leave my beloved Paris so badly. But unknown to me the fate had already dealt its card. To be continued.
Up to this point I had never thought of the
possibility of the two neighbours from Hell being involved in crimes. I was afraid of Leila’s fiancé turning
physically violent on me, but the frequent use of the washing machine upstairs was becoming abnormal.
So I decided to google two words, ‘washing
machine’ and the other word…I had no ideas what it was called because I was a
boring prude that I still am. Then by
pure luck the YouTube videos featuring Mr. Bill Maher that I had been following
was discussing the medical use of some potent plants. I saw the word that starts with ‘W’ on the
monitor next to Mr. Maher. That must be
the second word I needed. I googled and
then was blown away by all the videos that came up. I knew that man was not in cleanliness. But how could Leila, who seemingly a smart
woman, could be supporting such a man?
Then I remembered one conversation we had before she turned anti-social
I remembered Leila hobbling down the stairs
a few days after I moved in. She looked
weak so I stopped to inquire. She was in
agony because of her chronical pain in her knees. ‘Have you tried acupuncture? It works,’ I said as any Asian would. Leila, however, had already tried it, but
could not keep up with the expensive fees.
Everything is expensive in Paris.
She looked so miserable when we parted that I was surprised to see her
bouncing around in her high heels shortly afterwards. She was in a very jolly mood too. That’s nice and I did not think much of it
Back to the video of Mr. Bill Maher. He had a back pain and relied on medically
prescribed Marijuana. I never thought I
would ever write this word in my prudish blog, but I am seeing it differently
now. First, Mr. Bill Maher had already impressed
me with his fair and accurate observations coated with British style satire and
American enthusiasm (best of the two worlds.) Secondly, now that I have learnt
that it was medically helpful and prescribed through the proper channels in
some states, why blame the plant for the immorality of the shady dealers who
used to sell them illegally?In fact had it been
legalized in France, Leila would have been able to afford it and she may not have
been vulnerable to her fiancé, or rather what he could provide her with. And had it not been for that shady fiancé,
I could have contacted the police to complain Leila’s anti-social behavior without the fear of retaliation by his associates.
Was moving the only solution for my
plight? To be continued.
Our survival instincts are often compromised
by our denial of the imminent danger. A
pair of amoral people were living above my studio, and yet I chose to be blind
to the risk. Maybe I was too scared to
confront the truth and yet foolishly refused to acknowledge the defeat by
moving out. As much as it sounds like
‘Victims bashing’, I feel victims, unless children, may be partially
responsible for the tragedies, judging from my own behavior.
But in my defense, the noise of their
washing machine was weakening me. I was
puzzled as to why it should have oppressed my chest (technically 'breast', but I felt the pressure deeper inside). It turned out that the washing machines emit
infrasounds, otherwise known as a slower killer that triggers depression in the
long run. The noise was amplified by
their tile floor and insulation material was difficult to apply on my centuries
old uneven ceiling lined with woods. Like the title says, it is the true horror
story in Paris.
Normal people wash once per day or every
other days, so the infrasound would not cause damage, but Leila and her fiancé were running their washing machine virtually non-stop. I started to drop things for my hands were
shaking. How could the two upstairs be
not affected by the noise? I frantically
searched for an answer and it seems if you drink a lot, you are less likely to
be affected by the infrasound/low frequencies noise. The wine is cheap in Paris so I tried this
solution. The oppressive feeling in my
chest subsided to my delight. No wonder
the Parisians do not seem to be affected by the infrasound that passes through
the thin walls. (Incidentally, the high
frequency noise do not penetrate solid object like walls) Maybe Leila and her fiancé drank a lot? Yes and no, as I was about to find out.
One afternoon I saw Leila’s fiancé, again
by the window on the staircase, but he did not notice me. He was frantically banging the window grid
with something. The rhythm reminded me
of the other night when he was banging his floor/my ceiling. There was no usual smirk on his face, and I
sensed that his mind was absent. It
slowly dawned on me that while Leila’s action stemmed from her desire to hurt
others, he may have been driven by another thing. I was never a cigarette smoker and drank
light but I had read about the other substances that affected our nerves. To be continued.
I was going to call the Police should the
washing continue to the later hours, but the image of Leila’s fiancé was somewhat unnerving. Besides, that night Leila did not do her
washing. Probably she had tediously
done so during my absence, only to have found out that she wasted her
electricity for nothing because I had not been there to suffer the noise. Her high heels could be heard on my ceiling
though. It conveyed her mood that she
was irritated. Being with her beloved
did not seem to improve her mood. Who
said that love conquers all? Not the
dark desire to harm the others from the looks of it.
The following morning her high heels left
the apartment. I was surprised to see
her fiancé standing by the window of the stairs in the afternoon. I did not ask any questions, but he started
gloating on his high educational degrees.
And he found himself living in Leila’s room with no day jobs? I would accept that as appropriate from
writers and artists only. He went back
to Leila’s place and to my surprise, started the washing machine. Once was normal, but he repeated. Now that is unusual in men. My apology in advance for stereotyping, but
aren’t men generally pigs who hate washing?
I found it difficult to concentrate on my home
works under the tedious washing machine noise, but I was further dismayed when
I heard Leila’s high heels came home.
Their washing machine continued until 12:00 but I could not call the
police. Something made me hesitate. I was only glad that it stopped and fell
I was woken up by the banging on the
ceiling. It was 03:00. The banging was repeated like 20 times. I froze.
Then as if that had not been enough, the man started banging a furniture
on his floor/my ceiling. It had to be
the man because a woman could not lift up a furniture repeatedly to strike it
down on the floor. My only thought was ‘why?’ I knew Leila was a dark character, but would
a man go along with her sick game? How
suited they were to each other. And they
would be sick enough to have their revenge if I ever called the police on them. This was why Mr. A. had not done so. To be continued.
Incapable of escaping the suffering I was subjected by my anti-social neighbor upstairs, I prayed for the morning to come
sooner when Leila would have to go to work.
She did and her high heels kicking the floor subsided, but right before
she left she had set her washing machine for another long cycle again. Beaten, I lost conscious. I woke up with a lot of sweat. Weak as I was my survival instinct kicked in I
managed to get up and hobbled down to the nearest grocery shop to buy some
fresh orange juice. I drank 2 liters at
Complaining to Leila’s landlord did not work out for Mr. A. Besides it would only fuel Leila’ morbid
desire to prey on the vulnerable. It
was her only way of mitigating her own sense of inferiority she is subjected to
by other Caucasians in her miserable life.
I had to pretend that her washing machine did not bother me so as not to
encourage her further, but to do that I had to book a hotel for to get over my
flu. The hotel fees are exorbitant in
Paris, particularly if you did not book in advance. It was really unfair, but it gave me time to research. Apparently in Paris you can call the police
if the noise persisted after 22:00. One
would be liable for a fine of 90 euros each time someone called on them. Fortunately, the washing machine’s noise was
went home wondering why Mr. A. had not resorted to this mean.
When I reached the stairs I felt heaviness
in the air. Aura does carry a weight you
know. A pleasant person brightens up the
place while those with dark aura oppresses.
My premonition turned out to be right.
There was a man standing by the window in the middle of the stair
cases. He was not tall and had dark hair. When he turned around and saw that I was a
woman his shrewd eyes broke into a condescending smile. Then her voice was heard from above. ‘Hey, that’s our new neighbor I was telling
you about.’ Leila then turned to me, ‘he
is my fiancé. We’ll be living here.’
The fiancé, I shall refer to him as this
because I could not pronounce his name, offered with a forced sweet voice to
carry my grocery. It contained a bottle
of juice and loaf of bread only.
Besides I did not see him coming down the stair to get it. Shamelessly fake who believes he can pass
himself as a gentleman by a gesture of empty kindness. Leila was observing me, evidently to see how
much damage she had inflicted on me by her washing machine antics. ‘How is your flu? Feeling better?’ I suppressed my anger and replied
quietly. ‘It was not as bad as I
thought, so I’ve just returned from a lovely short holidays.’ The disappointment in Leila’s eyes was
disgusting. To be continued.
how many times she has been terror attacked Paris does not lose her glamour and
continues to allure tourists. The life
in Paris has been a battle of some form or another all along. It is nothing new and the Parisians, the
survivors deserved to be proud. The
world may judge the Parisians to be arrogant, but they have earned the right to
be selective as to whom they befriend.
You cannot fool them with a mere superficial smile. They can see through you, just like they have
seen through Leila and not one Parisian opted to be close, polite but not
embracing. Leila wonders why but there
is one man who knows the reason. Our
poor Mr. A. who woke up with less sense in his tongue.
immediately complained to Leila’s landlord.
However…Leila made good use of her youth and turned the story around. Mr. A, a lonely old man, had been seeking her
attention and after declining his advance he tried to get back at her with his ludicrous
Now, the landlords tend to
believe their paying tenants.
Also the centuries
of old men lusting after young women has come back to bite Mr. A. To be honest, even I suspected him of that a
little not knowing him personally. Mr. A
left the apartment, broken and beaten, before the noise affected his blood
to move in after him because of its affordability. So back to the scene of True horror stories
in Paris-Part 8 where Leila approached me.
She had already trashed her landlord as a spoiled Parisian and spoke of Mr.
A. as a narcotic invasive man. I
secretly wondered what she would be saying about me later. I kept the conversation polite and hoped for
One night I
came home with flu and headache. Leila
saw it and kindly said ‘I am sorry for that.
I hope you will have a good rest for a quick recovery.’ Her eyes, however, were glimmering with
amusement. That night, her washing
started at 10:00 and went on until 02:00.
My French was not yet good enough to contact the Police. Besides I was suffering from nausea, high
fever and headache. Mr. A. was telling
the truth. Leila was the anti-social
from Hell. Who else would walk around
her home in high heels after midnight?
To be continued.
Mr. A. returned to his apartment feeling much
relieved that his talk with Leila went cordially. He would at last have peace and quiet after this
night. He put on his kettle to make
himself a cupper…then his hand stopped.
That blasted grounding noise started above his head. Leila had turned on her washing machine as
soon as he had left. ‘Oh, maybe she just
needs to do one lot because she could not help it that she came home after
19:00…’ Mr. A. tried to explain Leila to
himself, but she could have set the timer on her machine so that it would wash
during the normal hours of the following day.
The machine got louder as it reached the
final spinning stage. Because of the thin
walls and ceiling in Paris’ old buildings, it felt as if he was inside the
spinning machine with his guts being oppressed.
Mr. A held on waiting for the final bang. It came and the quiet that followed relaxed
his muscles. Mr. A sighed. It was nearly 22:00. But wait…Leila re-started the washing cycle
Mr. A felt his blood pressure rising. He had told Leila that he was taking
medication for his high blood pressure, that he needed peace and quiet at
night. She was very sympathetic about it
and eagerly listened on. This behavior
did not make sense to him because he was a genuinely sympathetic man himself and
could not imagine that some people thrived on other people’s misfortune. Up to this point her washing was just
anti-social behavior, brought about by her obvious ill upbringing, but now she
has been informed that it stresses Mr. A., both mentally AND physically.
The washing finally stopped after
01:00. Mr. A. was suffering from mild
palpation but the much craved silence gradually turned him drowsy.
The poor man was woken up by the grounding
noise again. It was 02:00 in the
morning. Leila knew her game. She must have observed misery in the others
and learnt by now that giving her victims a pause makes the following strike
more potent. Mr. A. felt his chest
squeezed and passed out. He made a
futile effort to knock on the ceiling, but he slid off the ladder from the shaking
limbs. His memory ends there.
He had lost some sense in his tongue when
he woke up later. To be continued.