Mais… J’habite ici.

By: epluribusgeenum

Jul 11 2009


Category: paris


Focal Length:5.8mm
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Okay, I will start off by saying that I understand the importance of a courtyard in Paris. It’s nice to look at it, it’s got flowers and foliage, it’s a pleasant repose from the city… but I was reprimanded and got the finger wag and the tongue tuts by an old woman yesterday evening for practicing backward circles in an EMPTY COURTYARD. Not for fornicating in public or smashing bottles against the ground, oooor I don’t know, laughing too loudly. Because that would be an offense here.

I stopped doing backwards circles and was all, “Mais, Madame.” (Overexaggerated blink) “J’habite ici.” (“But, Madame. I live here.”) I’m just going to type the rest in English.

She said Oh well, she didn’t know that, but still it didn’t lend a pleasant atmosphere (?) and that’s not what courtyards are for.

What! So I said I don’t know what kind of atmosphere she wants but if a silent one maybe with a little bit of humming and whistling is it then I’ve got it down pat! I know people who are more disturbing than I am.

She said that that wasn’t the main problem.. the main issue was that I was there in general.

To which I replied–Yes but I live here, why is that so wrong? I still paid to live here just like her, even if I’m an student and here temporarily, and if she wants to pay to not use the courtyard that’s her thing but I’m going to use it.

She essentially ended the argument by re-stating her original reason, saying that above all French people don’t like their courtyards occupied and then walked away in a huff. Now we were just going in circles. Backward circles. Punny. Look, I don’t want to be that foreign student that comes in like a mover-and-shaker when they probably have to deal with new student residents coming in every week… but I would hardly call that moving and shaking. I would call that a quiet hobby that disturbs no one! Plus she was the one person that ever said anything… and I’ve gotten no disdainful stares or anything. Just curious looks. Maybe she just has a thing against backward circles. What is it with older people and young people on bikes! Whatever. I suppose I’ll respect the rules.

Well. At least I left my mark. Mwahaha. This is street art, folks.

No matter. I can go to way cooler places like in front of the Louvre and have fun there. I just liked to do it in the privacy of the courtyard because the world is not ready for me and my sloppy tricks. PLUS, it marked my first spontaneous argument in French so I know I’m at least progressing enough in fluency to be linguistically on my toes when I get angry. The other day when a guy shouted lewd things at me from across the street because I looked good in my jeans all I could think of as a verbal one-two was “Ta maman!” which is French for Yo Mama! Not sure how well that idiom translates into this language but it’s all I had time for while I was whizzing by. Although Mr. T would not approve:

… an oldie but a goodie.

6 comments on “Mais… J’habite ici.”

  1. geena! looks like you’re having a blast over there. just wanted to say sup and that i stumbled on your entries and that i really enjoy reading them and that this is a run-on sentence. keep doing what you’re doing cause it’s excellent writing and a good thought-provoking laugh. see ya =)

  2. Your comment reminded me I need to be reading your blog.

    Then I read it and remembered I need to be reading your blog.

    What is that! It’s a courtyard; it’s not for use? Oh, right, duh.
    That kind of stuff is everywhere. Weird. Buy chalk, get freaky with that mothereffin pavement, cause apparently it hasn’t gotten action for years. And you know how sidewalks get when they feel lonely and bitter….they trip you up! Curbs are the worse, jealous little suckers.

    • ohhhh. the rabble rouser in me really wants to follow your sage advice… but maybe with a twist, to be on the safe side, since i am affiliated with several groups who have my money and my college credit in the palm of their hands.

      but oh. you’ll see. =)

  3. pardon my french, but…what a stupid bitch. so what, courtyards are for viewing from inside or above, unoccupied? i don’t see the point in having a fishbowl with water, gravel, plants, and a little glittery castle with no fish. if she wants to discourage biking (which just so happens to be unavoidably popular in europe and asia, didn’t she know), she should replace or cover that pavement with gravel, a la the mailman’s predicament in amelie. in any case, i wonder what would have happened if you’d responded in french, “well, i’m american, and i’ll do as i please.” hahahahaahaha! as a sidenote, i read in the news recently that the french are considered the worst tourists by the rest of the world. shocking?

    • all good points. i read that news article too! shocked? non non. they seem pretty particular about what they like… it’s why paris is the way it is. the city makes money off of people coming to visit their fish bowl. [fish bowl reference count: 2] all i can say is, you get what you give, folks.

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