Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

photo credit gundolf


The Bible advises us to love thy neighbor, right? Well, La Mom's having a hard time putting this into practice. 

Profile du jourLa Voisine.

Habitat: 16th arrondissement. La Mom's French neighbor.

Hangout: In front of my apartment door (she lives across the hallway), the school gates.

Profession: Master's Degree in merde disturbing, a.k.a, une emmerdeuse.

1. La Voisine is the one who corners you at school on Monday morning to complain about your Saturday evening dinner party, "I can't stop you from having dinner parties, ha ha (uneasy laugh), but I can ask you to keep the noise level down at 8:30pm. My kid's bedroom is against your dining room wall and they can't sleep."

(Sidebar: For those of you who live in Paris, you know the party hasn't even started at 8:30pm. Things start warming up at 9pm. A request to quiet down at midnight is legit, but 8:30pm? What the ooh là là?)

2. During our apartment renovation, La Voisine hears a "jackhammer" noise on a Sunday afternoon and calls the police. They arrive to discover Big Cheese hammering pictures on the walls. Big Cheese and the police decide that La Voisine is the public nuisance and should be fined for making such a stupid complaint to the police.

(Sidebar: La Mom thinks La Voisine's French bulldog is also a public nuisance, but that's another story.)

3. Again, during the renovation, La Voisine takes advantage of our front door being open, enters our place uninvited, and corners Big Cheese:

La Voisine: Since you're renovating, you need to make the dining room wall thicker. I don't want to hear your kids all the time.

Big CheesePas de problème, are you going to pay for half of it?

La Voisine: No, it's your wall.

Big Cheese: It's half your wall too.

La Voisine: Yes, but it's your kids that are noisy and they are on your side of the wall.

Big Cheese: Then it's my decision to do what I want with my side of the wall. It stays as is. Tant pis.

4. La Voisine pretends not to know you when you cross each other in the apartment building's entry hall. Yet when she realizes you have something she needs, in spades, she corners you at your front door:

La Voisine: Can I borrow some of your English videos for my children?

La Mom: (Astonished and not in the mood to share): Uh, maybe.

La Voisine: What do you have?

La Mom: The Wiggles, Barney, Sesame Street, Paddington Bear, Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora, Diego.

La Voisine: You mean don't have Tchoupi or Franklin? That's what I want. French cartoon characters who speak English.

La Mom: My kids watch anglo culture videos, not French ones. No French cartoon characters.

La Voisine:  I guess that'll have to do. When can I have them?

La Mom: (Still not wanting to share)  We're still unpacking boxes from the move. I don't know where they are.

(Sidebar: Repeat scene for two months until La Voisine gets the message there are no videos to borrow. She can buy some at Fnac.)

How to spot her: You hear her. Not only is she une emmerdeuse, she's une crieuse. The whole apartment building can hear what happens on Friday nights. Now we're talking 'love thy neighbor'. Oh là!

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Hot French men. Champagne. Beaucoup de champagne. Hot Dogs. Venice Beach. Jimmy Delshad (Mayor of Beverly Hills). Cool music. Tim Robbins (actor). A drag queen. A gay icon. The Chateau Marmont. French actors.

La Mom spent a recent evening in the company of some very fun people. Rendez-vous next week chez moi to find out how, with who, and where it all went down!

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Don't forget to follow La Mom on Twitter @LaMomParis for a taste of life in France - what the tourists don't see.

11 comments:

à la parisienne said...

I guess les voisines agaçantes exist everywhere.
I can't believe she has the nerve to complain about everything and then turn around and ask to borrow your movies.

I love the part where the Big Cheese tells her she can pay for half of the wall!

Mandy

Ariana said...

Ah, but knowing you can write all about her must take some of the sting out of her terrible personality! We had a neighbor like that when I was a kid-- she was always calling the police on my parents, and we didn't even really have parties-- she somehow found a number of things anyway, like having too many children!

Viv said...

Great one! I had to look up crieuse, and google is not a help at all.

Julie Mautner said...

Sorry for you but thanks for the great post! I'm still giggling! Luckily down here in Provence I've been truly lucky neighbor, wise. Yes there's gossip and some not-so-subtle spying (I just can't get into the French habit of always living behind closed garden gates), but overall they have been wonderful to me and I think I have brought a nice international flair to the 'hood. My neighbors up and down the street bring me food and other little treats; they watch out for my animals when I'm away; they invite me for wonderful long lunches on Sunday and an apero every now and then just for fun. I'm very lucky!

Amy said...

I thougth it was bad enough that as the weather is nice and I have all the windows in the house open, my neighbors start to burn things in their fire pit. Smoke everywhere. I slam windows and go outside and cough loudly but they are cluless. But this puts my little spark of irritation to SHAME! I love your humor about it, though.

Anonymous said...

Well it just goes to show that bad attitudes and bad neighbors are an international problem, not just one in my little corner of the world! My mental picture isn't very nice - too much makeup, extremely underweight, expensive clothes, too much perfume (what is it with French women marinating in their fragrances?) and a big frown. Please, how far off is my mind's eye?

RRW

The Daily Connoisseur said...

This is so funny... I feel for you. You will be comforted to know that difficult voisines are equally as annoying in Santa Monica, CA half way around the world where I live :) One can only laugh.

La Mom-an American Mom in Paris said...

Merci everyone for stopping by!!

@à la parisienne: I couldn't believe it either when she asked me for movies. After all the stuff she's done (I haven't blogged about it all) it's incredible.

@Ariana: Yes, definitely! WHen I see her at school I have a secret laugh.

@Viv: Did you find the correct definition? It means she's a screamer in bed.

@Julie Mautner: How lucky you are to have such wonderful neighbors! Are you sure they are French?

@Amy: You win for worst neighbor. Smoking your house out is horrible!

@Anonymous: Actually you are extremely far off. La Voisine is just the opposite of what I consider Parisienne. No makeup, no perfume, combat shoes, dowdy (even though she's young), perma frown (that part you got right!). She's a tough one to figure out.

@The Daily Connoisseur:I bet your neighbor smiles more than mine because at least she has the California sun! It's definitely not a sunny all the time in Paris. La Voisine must lack vitamin D and therefore takes her grumpiness out on us.

La Mom-an American Mom in Paris said...

Merci everyone for stopping by!!

@à la parisienne: I couldn't believe it either when she asked me for movies. After all the stuff she's done (I haven't blogged about it all) it's incredible.

@Ariana: Yes, definitely! WHen I see her at school I have a secret laugh.

@Viv: Did you find the correct definition? It means she's a screamer in bed.

@Julie Mautner: How lucky you are to have such wonderful neighbors! Are you sure they are French?

@Amy: You win for worst neighbor. Smoking your house out is horrible!

@Anonymous: Actually you are extremely far off. La Voisine is just the opposite of what I consider Parisienne. No makeup, no perfume, combat shoes, dowdy (even though she's young), perma frown (that part you got right!). She's a tough one to figure out.

@The Daily Connoisseur:I bet your neighbor smiles more than mine because at least she has the California sun! It's definitely not a sunny all the time in Paris. La Voisine must lack vitamin D and therefore takes her grumpiness out on us.

Beadboard UpCountry said...

What a pain in the derriere!!!!I cannot believe her! I love that the Big Cheese asked her to pay for her half of soundproofing the wall.... The POLICE for hanging pictures??????? I say get a real jackhammeer about three in the morning.... AND you are totally right dinner parties don't get underway until well apres 8:30 she is just jealous.....Maryanne xo

lesliej said...

Love your post. Les voisines agacantes do exist
everywhere. Just smile at her a lot and be really kind and sweet but don't let her borrow anything!!!!!

 

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