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!

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!

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

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