Le Voisin

Morning after the party, I come downstairs, make a hot chocolate, and survey mr. mess grinning at me from every corner of the apartment. Slowly, my flatmate appears, complaining of a headache, and that he doesn’t want to clean… two minutes later, a girl of whom I had faint recollection of seeing last night appears out of nowhere. Apparently she got “tired”, found my other (currently absent) flatmate’s bed, fell asleep unaware of the latter 3/4 of the party that went down the rest of the night. I wonder to myself: are there any other hidden corners of the house where people fell asleep, not realizing that they have comfortably curled up on a hard stone floor that hasn’t been washed since 1975?

The three of us are in the kitchen, me washing dishes by the window, the other two at the table. All of a sudden, we hear someone banging on the door. My flatmate and I look at each other with eyes wide open, and mutter the same word: Le Voisin. Regardless of the fact that my flatmate doesn’t speak french, that is the first word that popped in his head at the sound of fists threatening to break down the door. The girl looked at us curiously: why would you know it’s your neighbor, and why is he banging on the door?

He knocks, bangs, holds the ringer for 30 seconds multiple times, then after about 10 minutes of us pretending to be not home, his upper body appears a meter from me in the window in the kitchen (we live a story above ground floor), mouthing the doors: OVRIR LA PORTE, pointing towards our door.. HOLY SHIT. I nearly break the dishes, and move away from the window to behind the table. We’re scared shitless, why would we open the door? Maybe he has a club with him or a knife, or something.. This is when my female flatmate comes downstairs, looks at us with fright; who is banging, and why? We start telling her it’s the crazy neighbor, when he appears again in the window. This I know not because I see him, but by watching the girl’s face, as she was the only one left in plain view of the window. Covering her mouth, her eyes frozen with fright, she wispers: I’m scared, he’s stark mad! I don’t wanna open the door! So we collectively decide to go out there together..

Of course we know the subject is going to be about the “exorbitantly loud” party we had last night. To be frank, I believe this retiree has nothing better to do than lay in bed at night, waiting till the clock strikes 11:30pm, then strains his ears to see if he hears anything from the corridor common to all of us living in the french-style apartment house.

In fact, the we kept the music to a talkable level, keeping people in the room farthest away from the corridor, and when they came to complain, we turned off the music and left the house so that we leave the neighbors alone.

And as the cherry on top, we received a letter today seemingly from the landlord, but we discover by clearly different handwriting that it is in fact not the landlord, but the neighbor who has forged the landlord’s signature.

And this isn’t the first time this neighbor has done total “conaries”, complaining about bikes in the building to us that aren’t actually ours, coming to say that we parked infront of his garage (it wasn’t us again)… I think we shall take all the VELO toulouse bikes from the rack in front of the apartment and park them in front of his door. Or better yet, park my flatmate’s car in the entrance way. No bike, no problem, eh? Or shall we ask my coloc who works at airbus to borrow a helicopter or a small airplane to park in front of his garage.

Next party we’ll ask people to come up on a ladder from the window. Yeah right.

Adrenaline Rush

I think I had enough of Adrenaline for one weekend.. but it is merely Saturday night.

Part 1
So first… Friday night I was invited to my first real “french party” aka a house party full of mostly french dudes/dudettes. (except for one guy from Sweden or somewhere- but he was actually asian or Malaysian looking) To get there, I had to take a bus from home all the way to the metro, then took the metro north two stops. From there, it was all by foot. I had looked up the way to get there on google maps, but when I was walking, I took a wrong turn, and went on the road I thought would pass by some tennis fields (which it did, but was actually the wrong set of fields- really the field I was looking for were rugby fields, and a block north)… so this road I thought would pass over the canal, but instead I ended up with a dead end of fence. Proceeded to climb the fence, because the canal road was just on the other side.
Bad idea.
Fence was the kind that was not just supposed to keep cars and bikes out, but people too. Long story short, it created some pretty nasty wounds in my hands. (Eyes… check, ass… check, face…check, hands… !check) I even felt the sneaky little metal pointy thing at the top sink in. At least it avoided any ligaments and nerves, actually barely hurt, only slightly swollen now.

Ah but then it was not very pretty… blood seeping out, dripping all over the place (I bet I would have some vampires on my tail if they existed). And for those of you I know are reading this (mom), don’t worry, I’m OK. no need to go to the hospital or anything. But just sayin, good thing I have some leftover calluses from rowing.

Party was fun, but more booze flowing there than adrenaline :p (Again for those worrying too much- I did not get drunk, or puke, or anything terribly bad)

Part 2
Today, I offered to take photos of a kind of suspicious place – namely where the guys doing some construction two houses over basically almost blew up the house where I’m living by fiddling with the electric boxes (presumably trying to steal electricity), and somehow ended up routing way too much voltage through the wires (you know nothing too bad – just some smoke and flames coming out of the wireless router, busting all the light fixtures, screwing up the fishtank’s 700 Euro water pump, blowing out the heating in half the house, etc.)
So today, just to have some evidence of the scene, I went out to take some photos from the PUBLIC road (did not go into anyone’s property). I go happily along with my small camera, snapping some photos of the electric box, the property being constructed on, etc. All of a sudden, I hear this guy yelling in French: “Why are you taking photos!!?” He’s pretty far away, so I just pretend not to hear him and keep going on (I was gonna jump on the bus that was coming in 10 minutes).
One minute later, a car comes racing towards me from behind.. in my mind I’m like oh crap… I hope I don’t get beaten up :-/. Comes screeching to a halt in front of me, guy jumps out, and starts yelling, “Why are you taking photos!!?” I’m just like, well “I’m here for a bit, and I just want to take photos of the places I’ve been, which includes this street…” His face turns red and keeps yelling,
“You can’t take photos of my car, and my work!! Why are you taking photos, you’re not allowed” I swear he’s like spewing spit he’s so mad… (there are 3 or 4 other guys in the car with him.. presumably illegal workers), I rebuke:
“What are you talking about, this is a public road, I can take as many photos I want here, there” ..He keeps ranting
“Why can’t I take photos??” I ask.
“It’s the law, you can’t take photos of someone’s vehicle, and someone’s work, it’s not like your country” (BULL SHIT).
So hes like show me the photos, starts grabbing my arm (me against 5 guys.. no way in hell – so I take out the camera). So I’m obliged to pull the camera out show him.. He’s like thats my car, thats my property, you can’t take photos, blah blah. At this point I’m getting really mad to – there must be something really bad if he’s acting like this.
He snatches the camera from my hand, and jumps back in his car, saying I’m taking the photos.
Then accelerates full speed. At this point, I’m like, great… there goes my camera… at least it wasn’t my really big expensive one.
But he ends up slowing down and stopping again, getting out of the car as Im about to pass by them with a really angry look on my face. He hands me back the camera saying “I took the card out, here’s your camera.” Wanted to flick him off so bad, but probably would have made matters worse.
He drives off, then another car full of Arabs drives by (most likely also illegal).
I think it’s time to find a new home… disappear before they attempt to blow up the house again…
Although in future cases these are the things I would have done (or should have tried to do):
1. hide as soon as he first notices
2. turn off the dumb flash when taking photos (why didn’t I think of this earlier)
3. have 2 cards, and switch the cards after taking the photos, showing him the empty one, saying they weren’t good and so I deleted them (probably wouldn’t have worked, but an interesting alternative).
4. put the scarf over my head as a headdress, and start swearing to Allah and bowing in the 4 directions.

And now I’m sitting in the Uni’s parking lot. I came here with the intention of finding a chair and table and a place where there’s internet so I can do some work. Fail University, fail: I found internet but no chair and table (unless I break into the building).