09:13:46 pmCategories: Fieldwork

Parisian overture, or getting a locksmith in the holiday season

Back in Belleville, - if only for a short visit

Finding a place to stay in Paris is one of the worst things I know (except from at a hotel, which is easy.) I’ve lived at six different places in the city, and almost every time some kind of trouble has been involved. (The only exception had a quite boring neighbourhood which was almost eventless in terms of fieldwork relevance.) This time, everything went unbelievably smooth. Even arriving with a small child was just enjoyable. Until I made a horrible mistake after ten minutes when I closed the high security fucking reinforced door when we were just popping across the street to get something for Leo’s supper. With a draught of wind, the door was closed with a spare key in the key hole on the inside. The next few hours involved a dozen of kind and welcoming neighbours, the wonderfully helpful cleaning lady and her wonderfully caricatural companion taken right out of a film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (or maybe comics by Tardi), three conmen and three policemen.

It all happened late in the afternoon a Saturday in the end of the French public holiday month. At such times, locksmiths can charge an exorbitant amount of money for opening a door. But not more than 1800€ which these conmen tried to get out of the newly arrived foreigners. Then the caricatural companion phoned the police, and they ran off. Luckily after having let us in, with our tired and impatient little baby, - by demolishing the high security lock completely, but leaving a hole in our door which could not be repaired until the weekend high rate period was over and the honest locksmiths were back from holidays. Then one of the conmen came back (for the “bill” with phone number and everything they had left in the hurry) and shouted outside our damaged but bolted door, and I found it best to call the cleaning lady (for the tenth time), and she sent the police.

Tomorrow, Monday, we’ll hopefully get a new lock and be able to leave the fall all three together.

This time it was my own fault and bad luck, but It seems like I continue to get into trouble and lose money over Parisian flats. I dare not think of what might happen if I ever get the chance of setting in motion my dream of getting my own place to stay in this labyrinth of industrious scoundrels and laborious jurisdiction.

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