Lately I’ve had some positive and negative interactions with my elderly neighbors. Basically, long story short the lady who lives upstairs wakes me up every morning with her television. I am not exaggerating– it is literally Every. Single. Morning. At around 7:30 AM. Her tv is blaring, and I mean blaring loud, to the point where it would be silly for me to have a tv in my studio, because I could just listen to hers. I felt bad because this is the woman who gives me magazines to read in French, which is of course really nice of her and something I appreciate a lot. So, I dealt with it for a few weeks, but one Saturday morning I finally decided to say something to her, because really, it was just that ridiculous. I got up the nerve to go upstairs and ring her bell (seriously, in the lobby of the apartment complex where I live, you would have thought you were in a sports bar due to the volume of the television) When she answered the door, I said “Bonjour,” and then asked her to please turn the sound down just a little tiny bit. She replied, “Oh, well I like to listen to the tv from my balcony.” *Face Palm* No wonder why it’s so loud. She continued, “You don’t always hear my tv, do you?” To which I admitted that yes, it normally does wakes me up. I proceeded to tell her (politely) that during the week I do not mind, as I really should be waking up at a decent hour for work, but if during the weekends she could just think about the volume, I would appreciate it.
Well, apparently I am the first person to ever complain (which for the record, I find to be a complete lie, unless everyone in this building is deaf or hard of hearing– which most people who live here, including her, are quite old, so maybe in fact that is a possibility). But regardless, I was honestly astonished when she told me that no one has ever said anything, especially the neighbors who live right next door. (Again I feel like that is a lie.) She then proceeded to come downstairs where I live and saw that the instillation is nonexistent in the hallways. She said, “Ah, I see why you would hear the television.” Relieved, I thought this was the end of our polite confrontation-based conversation. Happily enough, the tv volume changed for about a day, but then the volume was right back to where it started within the week. Now, I still hear the tv in the morning, and it is still way too loud, but it is a tiny bit more faint (though I cannot determine if this is because I now sleep on the other side of the bed, which is further from the door).
Fast forward to this past Thursday. I was doing my rounds at the market when I saw her on the street with her little old lady friend. I said, “Bonjour,” to which she responded, “So, you’re not hearing too much noise now are you?” I replied, smiling, “No, it’s gotten better.” She then said, “Yeah, you definitely exaggerated.” I chose not to respond. But, the fact that she had the nerve to say that, especially in front of her friend, after I asked once, almost 3 weeks ago, very politely, really shows true character, in my opinion. She then continued to ask me, “Did you hear the chairs this morning?” (Someone in our building sounded like they were pushing chairs for a marathon across the floor a few floors up,) to which I responded, “Yes, I did.” She said, “Yeah I hear those all the time but I never complain. That’s not me with the chairs you know.” And I said, “Oh that’s not you? Okay, well have a nice day!” For the record, I haven’t received any more magazines since I approached her almost three weeks ago.
On a more positive note, the people with whom I share a mailbox as well as a friend of my host mom’s sister (who both live in my complex and are in their 80’s) have invited me to coffee and dinner within the past week, which has been an awesome opportunity to practice French!
Is this just a typical French thing, or is my neighbor special? Leave a comment 🙂
PS- more on my current living situation to come– stay tuned!