There are two people on my floor at work. It's deserted and my phone has only rung twice. Unbelievable.
See, it's August, and in France, everyone goes on vacation in August. Because of this, the prices to go somewhere even two hours away are ridiculous. I am trying to save money since I will have to pay an arm and a leg for my French taxes next year. And to be perfectly honest, the rebel in me resists the pressure to go on vacation now just because the rest of the country does. To add to it, apparently if you go through a travel agency to book some package of train or plane plus hotel, you PAY A PENALTY for being single. Yep, folks, you read that correctly, because you are not currently fucking someone you want to spend more than 24 hours with in a locale other than your home or his/hers, you pay a penalty. Nice.
So, here I am, the only other assistant on the floor except for the assistant to the CEO. I've brought in some CDs to listen to, and I am going to try to learn some Russian, as I might be going there in September for a conference.
I'm trying to find little projects to do while avoiding the one I don't want to do at all - the filing. Have I mentioned how much I hate filing? Especially here. It's a literal pain. See, the file folders are not the kinds we are used to in the US, which hang in drawers. Here, they prefer filing cabinets where you hang the folders vertically, like this and as illustrated in the picture on the right. (I have a picture on my blog, people! I have a picture on my blog!) Problem is, the stupid folders have velcro on each side, so if you're doing a lot of filing, you are constantly scraping off a few layers of skin as you try to separate them.
At my wits end one day, my knuckles nearly bleeding, I asked a co-worker why on earth there was velcro on each side of the hanging folders.
"So they hang properly," she said, as if this was obvious to everyone.
Well, sure, as long as those folders look pretty.
So, in an effort to avoid shredding my knuckles raw, I am ordering office supplies. (Making sure to not order anything having to do with the act of filing, of course). This being France, and my being on the Executive floor, we have an espresso maker, with real cups and little spoons. So I decided to order some nice little products for the coffee maker, which we use not only for ourselves, but primarily to serve to people waiting to see our bosses. I don't know what I would do without coffee and Perrier to distract different bankers from the fact that my boss is 20 minutes behind schedule. Plus, the waitress in me sort of likes serving them nice frothly espressos with a smile.
When my friend worked on the floor, she had the whole shabang - hot chocolate, tea, little cookies, chocolate squares, and chocolate covered almonds. I noticed my boss has a sweet tooth, so I thought I'd order some chocolate squares to serve with the espressos, as well as more practical items like de-liming powder. I go to the website, which is chic and has nice Buddha Bar-like music. I order some extra spoons and some little almond biscuits, but when I try to order the dark and milk chocolate squares, it tells me they are temporarily unavailable. Disappointed, I click on the "more details" button. In nice fancy French, it says, "in order to provide you with the superior service and quality of products you expect from Nespresso, chocolate is not available for ordering in the summer months."
You know it's August in Paris when you can't even get chocolate delivered.