Chapter #3 Outline
"THE WELCOMING COMMITTEE"
In this chapter I describe the first weeks after arriving in Paris, beginning with my hotel room the size of a small, walk-in closet; needing to slither sideways like a crab between the bed and the wall, to get to the bathroom! I tell of stupidly moving to Paris ignorant of the language, and struggling thru my daily, early morning agony of
deciphering the apartment ads with the help of my frazzled English/French dictionary, and (appropriately), “French for Dummies.” After weeks of searching, rejections, and on the brink of poverty, I spot a listing for an unfurnished studio in a very expensive quarter. Since I have always been a closet masochistic, and figuring I have nothing to lose, I’m off to see it. It is lovely! Not knowing the monthly rental fee, but having so many years of obedience training as a rink mom, without questioning, I instinctively follow the concierges’ command by going to the realtor’s office for a mandatory interview with the owner.
I explain my loss of self-respect as the realtor struts around the room, reciting a melodramatic lecture in French; taking rudeness to a new level. Meanwhile, the owner, Claude Beaud, sitting motionless and expressionless, vaguely stares at a blank wall. Knowing this is a hopeless cause, and unable to sit thru any more abuse, Sport and I get up to leave. The owner also stands up, whispering something in the obnoxious realtor’s ear. You will not believe it, but to my surprise, they can suddenly speak perfect English! With Claude Beaud setting my rent at a ridiculously low figure to match my ridiculously low bank account, I spend the following years in that wonderful apartment, with the added bonus of Claude and his wife Paule becoming my dearest friends.
I finish the chapter, explaining my embarrassment the next morning, dragging everything into my apartment building in this exclusive quarter, at number nine, rue Vineuse. Noticing my new neighbors’ suspicious, disapproving side-glances, I am certainly not expecting a visit from The Welcome Wagon! The electricity (although promised by the realtor), is not yet turned on, putting Sport, and I on a diet of baguettes and cheese -- by candlelight for three days, causing eyestrain and acute constipation! Not having a bed for a whole month, we painfully sleep on the floor using a cheap quilt bought in a shop under the metro station. As soon as a painting sells in LA, I hurry out to buy a sofa bed and food! These glitches never discourage me, since I am just thankful to have my little home in the “City of Light.”