lundi, avril 24, 2006

Brawl in the 16ème - Y'all!!

Sunday, I went for a brisk jog. You read that correctly. Moi, jogging. Mais oui. See, Handsome is quite the runner, and those green eyes can make me do just about anything. But I am still quite the novice. Like six minutes and 20 seconds kind of novice. On Sunday, I had just gotten back from my feeble attempt, and when I went to close my apartment door behind me, the wind from the open window slammed it shut, making a rather loud noise. Oops! I thought. Sorry, neighbors!

In one of those weird coincidence moments, at that very second, I heard someone out in the hallway, trying to slip a note under my door. I picked it up, curious. It read:

(Translation : Dear Neighbors, Pleaze [sic] be a little more discreet on Sunday mornings especially when closing your shutters and in other akts. [sic] Thaynk you. [sic])

My first reaction was that the "akts" in question were a direct reference to the kind of sport Handsome and I had been practicing before the jogging, one at which I have much more endurance - and loads more practice. But I was almost sure I had been more "discreet" than usual. I felt a slight moralistic reproach in the "on Sunday mornings", as if my use of "Oh God!" in the context in which I had uttered it had been particularly blasphemous to the ears of this mystery person. I tried to remember how loud I had been and who could have possibly heard. I felt myself blush. Then, the shutter part threw me. I never touch mine. I think they're a pain to close and open all the time, so I just leave them open. Surely this was not a note from my neighbors across the street, who had somehow gotten into my building, asking me to close the shutters the next time I felt like getting a little closer to heaven?

I read it again. I noticed the "ç" in "merci" twice, and the missing "e" in "acts". This person can't be French, I thought, and if they are, shame, shame! This is not from my neighbors across the street, I reasoned. This is not about people seeing into my window. This is not even about how best to praise the Lord on his special day. This is about noise. Shutter closing noise. Which I did not make.

Handsome came back from his hour-long run, and I showed him the note.

"Tell me I'm reading this wrong," I said, "and that this is not about us and our warm-up session this morning."

He read the note quickly and handed it back. "Don't worry," he said, "this isn't about us."

"So it's not that anyone heard us or saw us and they're complaining cause it's Sunday? This is to everybody, right?"

"Yeah," he said, "and even if it were to us, who cares? Whoever it is needs to lighten up."

"Whew!" I said, relieved. "I didn't want to make enemies with my neighbors so soon."

"Besides," he said, taking me in his arms and smiling devilishly, "you were a lot quieter than usual."

Later that evening coming back from a movie, we were tired, and contrary to our habit, decided to take the elevator to my floor. Lo and behold, taped to the wall was proof we were not the only targets of the Sunday morning note.

(Translation: Sir or Madam, This makes two times you have accused me anonymously. At least have the courage to sign your name. For your information, 1) I never close my shutters 2) I was out of town this weekend. [NOT SIGNED])

"Ooo!" I said, "things are heating up on Rue de la Pompe!!"

"Look, the fool lost his argument cause he didn't sign himself!" Handsome pointed out. "He would have won if he'd just put 'third floor, door on the right,' or whatever. Like 'come tell it to my face, fucker!' "

"Mnnhhh hhn!!" I said, sucking my teeth and swinging my neck like I was back in the ATL, "there gon' be some fur flying tonight!"

Fur coats, that is. This is the 16ème. Ahem.

jeudi, avril 06, 2006

Ten Under

Much to my annoyance, every year we have to have a physical exam. I'm pretty sure this is a no-no in the US, but here, it's part of the mentality of your company and your government "taking care" of you. French people will admit that the state has a sort of "parental" role. It gives you milk money, asks you to check in when you change addresses, and monitors if you watch TV or not. (There is a TV tax. No lie. One more reason not to own one.)

My check-up was on Monday, and I knew it would be pretty routine : blood pressure check, vision test, etc. Everything went fine with the nurses, and then I had to have a brief visit with the doctor. She called me into her office. A rather stern woman with closely cropped blond hair, she asked me to sit down and asked how I was doing. Not realizing this was part of my health test, I gave the standard chirpy 'everything's fine' answer. If only I had known, I might have amused myself by making up psychoses.

"Well, everything was fine until I started to have sexual dreams about the janitor."

Or, "I often hear voices telling me, 'Shred that piece of paper! Shred everything in sight!"

Or, "Sometimes I get the overwhelming urge to re-organize my files in reverse alphabetical order."

But I'm proud to say, I resisted the temptation to mess with the company doctor.

She finished her questions and then asked me to get undressed. There is something ever so slightly incongruous about getting undressed in what looks like a normal office except for the paper-covered examing table. I tried to act like I was used to getting undressed in people's offices all the time, but maybe that wasn't the best impression to give her. Anyway, luckily, I happened to be wearing a bra and underwear that slightly matched. If you squinted, you might have even mistaken them for a set.

I stepped on the scale, having honestly no idea where it would land. I don't have a TV because it depresses me. I don't have a scale for the same reason. Plus, kilos still don't really mean all that much to me. I looked down at the number. She came over, looked, and then went back to my file.

"Two more kilos than last year!" she announced.

I shrugged and smiled dismissively. I thought if I didn't care, she wouldn't. Plus, my underwear matched.

"And you have to lose them because you're right at the limit for your height," she pronounced.

I burst out laughing.

Fuck you, and have a nice day, I thought as I left.

I came back up to my floor and went to go see my friend.

"Well guess what," I said, "I'm supposedly 'right at the limit' in weight for my height."

"No," she said, "how tall are you?"

"Shit, in meters, I don't know."

"Because the rule is you should be ten under your height," she explained.

I gave her a blank look of incomprehension.

"For example, if you're 1 meter, 60 centimeters tall, you should weigh 50 kilos. If you're 1 meter 70 centimeters tall, you should weigh 60 kilos, and so on."

So everyone goes walking around with this information in their heads? This seems too even and neat to me. Too metric.

But if I want to be in line, if I want to be within the norm, if I want to fit neatly on the graph, I have a few kilos to lose.

Eh. I'll think about it tomorrow.