I feel like the future is simultaneously wide open and closed down. I’m not talking globally, though that’s certainly the case, just my own quietly confused life. Covid and the great unknown surrounding the pandemic is the closed down part, our Paris situation is the wide open one, and neither are by choice. I would be contentedly confined in our tiny flat, especially during this rather free-range, confinement-lite, except for one thing: our new neighbor. Despite Covid, confinement, curfew, and norms of civility, he will not be deterred from what appears to be his great goal in life: having astonishingly loud all-night curfew-avoiding parties. This, to say the least, is bothersome. There’s no escape. Our place is 20 sq meters. Is it just jealousy? My friends don’t come over and scream woohoo all night, why is that? Maybe I need to up my excitement game? Or get new friends? Or get invited to his parties? But then I remember that screaming spews Covid into the air and I am someone who flees exposed noses on the bus, so that’s out. Our mutual landlady is already doing everything in her power to tranquilize the situation, but French housing laws are heavily tilted in favor of the renter. So nothing is assured, except that the outcome will take a hell of a long time because in France justice takes time to ripen, like a fine cheese.
On a Friday evening a couple of weeks ago, just as the festivities were ramping up*, we got a text that fell like a miracle from the sky. It was our friends G&S, who know our predicament. Would we like to stay in their fabulous apartment in the 7th arrondissement with a view of the Eiffel tower while they rush back to the US for a month for some essential business? I’ve never said oh hell yes faster in my life. They left on Sunday. We followed shortly after, packing up quickly when we heard a knock on the neighbor’s door. We didn’t stick around to see what would develop.
So while we’re enjoying the peace and quiet to think about what to do; if, when, and where to go, I thought I’d share the splendor that is our reprieve.
What to do, what to do? We may wait until the slow-turning wheels of justice boot him out, but that only works if things open up again and we can treat our tiny digs as a pied-à-terre in the meantime. We might have to move, but at least it’s a great time to do so. Paris is awash in available apartments right now. Or he might miraculously chill out, but I’m not holding my breath. But all of that is a decision for another day. For now I’m awash with gratitude to our friends and am newly convinced that a well-timed miracle is always a possibility.
*That night, Mark had to bang on the neighbor’s door for the umpteenth time. This time, he lost his temper and yelled at our neighbor, in French. I was impressed. From 0 to cursing in a foreign language in 3.5 years, pas mal! A friend said of our new neighbor, That bastard! He’s broken the last good man!