Thursday, 30 September 2010

Put downs and pickups







What a way to start my day - visiting social security and the predictable red tape. A pregnant lady had an appointment which I watched through a window. It didn't seem to be going well. The lady was getting sadder and more depressed as the minutes ticked by; I thought she was going to cry. I don't know what was going wrong for her but her body language was so dejected when she left. The office person interviewing her was completely dispassionate and unsympathetic. Oh oh, doesn't bode well, I thought. Darned right!

I walked in with the paper the university had told me to take. It was obvious I wasn't French but they made no concessions at all and I felt they deliberately made it difficult for me to understand. They would not slow down. They must have both had botox because there was no amiability there at all. I felt bullied and a non-person. They demanded my birth certificate be translated into french. I asked why they couldn't read a name and a date without it being translated into exactly the same anyway. They don't appreciate anyone questioning anything- this is a big problem in France. They wrote down a list of demands and told me to go away and come back with someone who understands French. Charming, not!

I was so pissed off because this puts my employer out as well. So much time gets wasted on all this crap. I had my passport and visa but that's not good enough. My birth certificate isn't even in my current name. What to do?- I was sizzling even though it was grey and rainy.

Shopping! No no, that's really not normal for me but I had planned to buy some new clothes so I would have something from this century, especially since my personal effects still haven't left NZ yet. I caught a train to Rambouillet. I'm a lot poorer but I had fun. A shop proprietor became my stylist and we dressed me in a very different way to what I'd be doing in NZ, especially at my age but it's perfectly fine in France. I now have an outfit for going somewhere niceish (if I had someone to take me)or even wear to work, an outfit with short pants for work, a fake leather jacket and ankle boots for casual and a teensy bit of makeup PLUS the table lamp I predicted I'd buy, in a sale. It's gold - must be the Versailles influence. Now I can read in bed.

After all that therapy I set out with my camera to explore the Chateau de Rambouillet and parc. I loved it. It's a tad like Versailles but much more intimate with some lovely detailing on the walls. I've got to hand it to Napoleon, he did restore and protect a lot of important buildings and works of art. His bathroom was beautifully done. Francis 1st -well he died in the castle and I saw his bed where it happened. I also saw where Francis X abdicated. The influence of Louis XV and Louis XVI with Marie-Antoinette is strong. There's a lot I could tell you about it if I had time. Sadly I was forbidden to take any photos inside the castle or the Queen's dairy or the seashell cottage.

The art inside is incredible. So much creativity, imagination and superb skill. It's lost to modern folks. No-one would want to build something amazing over 10 or 50 years these days. I walked for kms and I've got the blisters to prove it. I struggled to understand the commentaries given by guides for the chateau and dairy. They speak at full speed in French. I only picked up a tiny fraction which is such a shame because I know they were very knowledgeable. I did wish the guide for the dairy and cottage wouldn't keep brushing his arm against my breast all the time he was explaining things to me (the others had abandoned the tour early so it was just me), it was very off-putting, even though he was a very enthusiastic guide.

On my return from the parc I wandered around the chateau gardens. I saw a guy with a strange gait coming towards me and he made certain I couldn't walk past him. He decided he was going to show me some beautiful gardens around the corner and would like me to accompany him. Well, er OK. So we chatted away in french. Turns out he is a fashion photographer from the very ritsy Parisian suburb of St Germain, named Alain. He then insisted we sit down on a park bench for a chat-no sign of the garden. He proceeded to light a cigarette and ask me questions about me. I made sure I didn't give him the name of my street though he wanted to know it. After a while I started getting a bit fed up with him and his smoking. I told him I wanted to see the garden, he said, after. Next minute he's taking my hand and stroking it and asking why there are no rings. I say I am going to look at the garden. He tries to kiss me and is mighty put out that I do not allow him any 'bises'. A solid no from me and he vanished like a genie. No garden.

How annoying. Second time today a guy has immediately gone straight up to me and tried to get me to have a coffee. It's not flattering because they do it with no thought for who I am at all. They are not interested in me just the game and I am not game to be hunted. I prefer the 'princess' treatment. Guys, please take note: if you are not seriously warm and respectful, piss off.

3 comments:

Alison said...

The unpleasant women at the prefecture/Social Security place/ whatever - yes, it seems that it is compulsory to be rude there. I once went home in tears after an experience there. Hopefully you will get all that nonsense sorted out soon!

Alison said...

PS Yes, - love the photos!

Liz said...

Hi Frances,

hope you get the bed-thing sorted. you need undrugged sleep. still, le studio sounds better than a garrett.

the old breast toucher eh? my my, quelle methode tres sophistique! pardon my french.

Hope you're a happy camper

xx

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