I got up early this morning after 3 1/2 hours of sleep, in a rotten mood. Crabby Appleton...rotten to the core sort of rotton! Monsieur Rabbit, who lives just below me, and his amour, have spent the last several days and nights, moaning and groaning in sexual ecstasy. I have written about these two before and you can read about it here if you feel the need. The problem is, their hormones and pheromones…and loud moans… seem to be rolling at full force around 3 am. Always. And at 1 in the afternoon...and 6 at pm. This seems to work nicely around his schedule as a musician. It does not work nicely around my schedule as a human being. She has been absent for quite awhile and life has been serene. Well, SHE’S BACK!
Last night around midnight they started a discussion. I can never hear him but she...SHE has a big, fat mouth and doesn't seem to care what she says and who hears it. My friend Holly, who has been staying with me this week, was experiencing this “group living” phenomenon up close and personal for the first time and because she can understand French better than I, came up to tell me that The Mouth, was itching for a fight. I let her know that this can only mean one thing… the inevitable reconciliation. But I was placated a bit because they seemed to be starting earlier than usual. Au contraire! After 3 hours of high volume “discussion”, they made up. LOUDLY, as usual.
As this was night number two of no sleep, I came downstairs this morning...just plain pissed off! I pushed my massage table over on the floor (this is an explosive sound) and then kicked around a few things just so they would know I was serious. And because I was so crabby, I kicked things around some more...just to feel better. Holly and I loudly made fun of her groans and moans, hoping she would hear us, while we made our much needed coffee. But the coffee was of no help and I got no rejoinder from them. And I think I really wanted one. I was also itching for a fight.
Then it was off to the prefecture to pick up this year's carte de sejour. In my cantankerous state of mind, just the idea of going to the prefecture irritated me and I armed myself for (the usual) battle.
I had received a letter while I was in the states that said my card had arrived and designated this year’s price. There is a weird, antiquated system here in France where one has to buy tax stamps to pay for the carte de sejour and other such documents. You have to buy the proper amount of stamps and the correct type of stamp for whatever is being paid for. These are available at the tobacco shops, so it's a bit of a process and makes for a few extra steps.
Upon my arrival at the prefecture, I happened to land at the window of Monsieur Willard (the gray rat) who had been my nemesis during my first application in 2009. I told him I lost my letter and needed him to remind me how many stamps I needed to buy to pick up my new card. I waited for him to tell me,“no madame, you can’t have your card without the letter. You will have to reapply and then run around the periphery of the town in under 10 minutes with your feet tied together, at which point you must eat 3 pounds of tripe washed down with 2 litres of straight pastis, then we’ll need the original birth certificate of your 2nd cousin’s great uncle, translated into French by an offical translator and if all goes well you’ll get your card by December 2013.
Instead, he smiled at me…let me repeat….he smiled at me, made a little bit of small talk, told me that lucky for me, this year it was only going to be 85 euros and then wrote down everything I needed on a piece of paper. I took off to buy my stamps and returned immediately to take advantage of the small crowds this morning.
I ended up at his window for the second time. All I’m saying is…what a difference a few years make! He again greeted me with a smile, chatted a little more about this and that and then informed me that he thought my photo held a striking resemblance to Melina Mercouri. He explained that she was a Greece actress popular in the 60's, nominated for an Oscar, married to so and so, her son was so and so, and she became the minister of culture in Greece in the 80’s. Not that I give a hoot nor did I know who he was talking about, but I was so stunned he was actually chatting that I just wanted him to keep going! (Now that I've seen her photo, I AM flattered, though I see no resemblance) So we talked as he did all his stamping, sticking, and paper arranging. Wow! What happened to the gray, surley, sluggish, rodent that had made that first application so nasty?
I really think these government workers must play some sort of game with the “debutantes” for their own amusement. As in “lets see how difficult we can make this process for the newbies. We’ll call it a test to see just how badly they REALLY want to live in France”.
As I left, he said, “Goodbye Dear Madamoiselle Delana. See you next year”. I guess I’ve earned my stripes! And I didn’t even have to try to pull my usual trick of bringing chocolate chip cookies!
Needless to say, I skipped out of there, copulating bunny neighbors, major fatigue, and crummy mood completely dismissed from my head... feeling more like Tom Terrific than Crabby Appleton. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference!