Saturday, October 24, 2009

Just plain absurd

My company has accidentally been overpaying me since I arrived (I took a pretty significant pay cut to come here) and now that it’s come to light, I am expected to pay back many, many thousands of dollars.

My two-in-one oven/microwave is on the brink and my landlord told me to have fun with my first appliance purchase in France.

HSBC screwed up one of my deposits—though the check from my U.S. account has cleared, the money just isn’t showing up in my French account—and I literally can’t get in touch with my bank representative.

My doctor left a voicemail to make an appointment to go over some test results, and when I called to do so (admittedly, a week later), I was told she was on vacation.

I'm still waiting for the results of Milo's blood work. In the meantime, he has carved a nice little bald spot on his haunch.

When asked about the status of the business cards I ordered in July, the woman at work told me (for about the eighth week in a row), “Next week.”

As absurd as all of this stuff is, what makes it even funnier/crazier is the way that these things transpire. For all the talking that happens here, nobody in France likes to communicate. I call and email human resources and my bank representative and they just don’t respond (I seriously cannot even get my bank rep on the telephone). The French seriously have a way of ducking responsibility, confrontation and unpleasantness like nobody’s business. It’s an art. People drop major news on you like they’re relaying what they ate for lunch. Shrug of the shoulders: Eh. Pas grave. Things can be totally f’ed at the office, but everyone still takes their hour for lunch.

I could go on. There are so many other smaller, more personal absurdities that I encounter every week. Since I’m alone so much, they just swim around my head and then I start asking myself, “Am I crazy?!” and then when I realize that I’m talking to myself and think, actually, maybe I am. I don't know. I love France, I really do. But it can just be so absurd.


  1. Sorry to hear of all your problems.

    Hope the bank gets sorted soon.

    Milo - poor baby! Brother's cat had such a bad flea allergy that just a trip to the vets triggered it (I actually found them to be fascinating - older than the dinosaurs! - as long as I could kill the little darlings that is!).

    Remember that talking to yourself always means you have an intelligent conversation.

    And you are not alone - your readers are always around.

    Take care, have a lie-in on Sunday and it looks like the sun will shine for the next few days so enjoy autumn in the best city in the world.


  2. Thanks, Eli! It's funny - this big stuff barely bothers me (of course it will bother me when I see my savings account start draining...). But it's usually the little things—when I go to three Velib kiosks in a row and can't get one to work, ruining a new pair of shoes, not being able to communicate with a bus driver, etc—that makes me want to cry.

    In any case, live and learn, right?

    Thanks for the note! :)