mardi 28 mars 2006
On Friday several weeks ago I went as normal to the laundromat (la laverie) about two blocks from here. There is another one about 100 meters away, but every laundry-related nightmare I have involves that place. It is small, dirty, expensive, and only about half of the machines work. So when this new one opened further away, I was happy to change my loyalties, even if it does mean shlepping two big bags of laundry much further.
This new one has a central unit that controls all the machines- you put the coins in, push the button corresponding to the machine you want to use, and Presto! it starts. In theory at least. If the coins get stuck in the machine, then every single person in the laundromat is out of luck.
Well, it just so happened that when I put the coins in (4.80 euros for the big machine) it got stuck. Great. And it wouldn't return the change. Fabulous. There was a sign, in case of problems, please call..... Except I don't have a cell phone. Well, we do but are cell phonealy challenged. Luckily the only other person in the laverie let me use his cell phone. But as he doesn't speak french, he told me to speak to the man in charge. Moi non plus! So I tried to explain that I was at the laverie in Chartreux and "le truc ne marche pas!" Quoi? "Le truc! Le chose! Le machin!" I thought he understood me and was on his way, so I hang up.
After about 30 minutes the cleaning lady comes. I ask her if she can fix it, and she says no. So we call again and again I try to explain. She finally takes the phone from me and explains to the man. She asks me- did you put money in? Did you push the button? Yes okay, I'm not completely stupid. Finally about 30 minutes after that the guy finally comes on his scooter and fixes it.
Meanwhile, the other man is getting anxious because he has to get back to work. And he comments to me that Don't I have class? (like, high school). No. I am not in High School. But aren't you about 15? Uh, no about 26. No way. Way. No way. Way. (I am quite used to this. I deal with it, but I don't enjoy it. Now at least. Perhaps in ten years I will). Are you married? No, go away. This is followed by questions about where I live (answer- in this general area).
His laundry finished before mine, and as he was leaving he asked if I would like to go for a coffee with him. Yeah, you barely know French, I barely know French, what are we going to talk about? In general, I am not against making new friends, especially foreign ones. I find it easier to practice french with someone who doesn't know it any better than I do. However, I generally like them to be non-creepy and within a general range of +/- five years of me.
He tells me I am Bella Bella. Hmm, let's take an inventory.
Clothes? Big gray VMI sweats
Hair? In a messy braid
Makeup? Not a trace.
I am sure I was bella bella.
The thing with being hit on in another language is that you don't know how to say No, ranging from the polite "No, I have a boyfriend" to the more forceful "No, I have a boyfriend and he has a black belt in karate, and so do his four friends. Would you like me to give him a call?"
He finally left. Thank goodness. I don't know what is creepier, that he thought I was fifteen and was hitting on me, or that he was approximately twice my real age and was hitting on me.

1 commentaires:

Ed/Sue Smith a dit…

You didn't give us credit for finding that "laverie" for you. What country was that guy from do you think? Glad that laverie is in a fairly safe area.

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