We had a weird weekend, Gergö and I. On Saturday morning we woke up to another blackout. After I started playing Pokémon Go I bought two external batteries, so at least this time we could make sure our phones wouldn’t die.Gergö mentioned that it was October 1, and hoped it wasn’t an unpaid electricity bill.
At some point in the morning a large moving van arrived. People started bringing things upstairs, not using the elevator. This was strange, because the elevator had just been fixed this past Friday. Apparently the lights worked fine in the hallway, but the elevator didn’t. This at least made it clear that it didn’t only affect us.
Before we could decide what to do, the electricity came back on and we figured that was that. Until on Sunday morning the whole episode repeated. No electricty, no elevator, no wifi, no coffee nor tea. Again, it returned at around 9.
Then, after breakfast we found out that now the hot water wasn’t working. I wandered downstairs to check if anybody put up a sign, but there were only old ones regarding the broken elevator. I did find a list of gardiens and when they had night and weekend duty. I texted the gardien in question but that only produced an error message.
Even though my phone claimed the message didn’t go through, he called me back. I usually stare at the phone and work up a panic when a French number calls. In this case I actually picked up and I asked him about the hot water and electricity. He knew about our infrastructure fails and said repairs had been arranged.
I found it a little comforting that it’s not just our apartment that doesn’t have water and/or electricity. But I’d have still preferred a hot shower. We had planned to go out picking tomatoes and fruit at a farm on the plateau, but I didn’t want to leave unshowered.
When the doorbell rang, I assumed it would be a neighbour asking about our water/electricty/tv signal. Instead it was a kid selling chocolate door to door. From American tv, I knew girl scouts sell cookies door to door, but I had never experienced it myself (nor was I completely sure it’s true and not a tv trope). In our case it’s just the school fundraising money for a journey next year by selling chocolate.
One of the first things Gergö asked was what kind of payment he’d accept – cheques, of course. Only a few days earlier I had picked up my very first brand new chequier from the bank. So we were in the market for some chocolate!
I had a schoolboy explain to me how to fill out my very first cheque and found out that it will only be cashed in Decembre. By then I will have long forgotten about why a school is taking money from my account. I’m fairly sure I won’t challenge the charge though, at least I won’t get around to it until the chocolate is delivered (personally, by the school kid, no less!). Except he’ll probably try to send someone else to deliver chocolate to the smelly Germans who didn’t know how to write a cheque.
The whole episode lifted my mood. I’m always relieved when a potentially complicated interaction in French goes well. And getting chocolate delivered home in return for money seems like a very good outcome.
I decided to do a toilette de chat, when I noticed the water getting warm again. So we decided to make something of a beautiful autumn day after all. The visit to the farm to pick fruit and veg still fell through. We missed our train and discovered the bus only goes every hour.
So we went to Paris instead. Ever since our last visitors we wanted to visit the promenade plantée. It’s an elevated walking path sitting on top of former metro lines. It’s a mostly straight line going from Bastille to the Vincennes forest. It was a beautiful, suprisingly quiet walk with lots of interesting views of the surrounding buildings.