Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Broken and missing

Last night my landlord (male component) came by to help me fix my bed. He was supposed to arrive at 8:30 pm (20:30!) but didn't show up until 9:20. I was a bit annoyed but when he arrived, laden with fresh produce, he explained that there'd been an unexpected goodbye party for one of the members of their farmer's coop. Fine, I forgave him.

The problem with the bed is two-fold: 1) It was put together backwards--the part that was meant to be the seat has been acting as the back and vise-versa and 2) the mechanism that locks the seat and the back in a 90 degree angle (making it sit-able) is broken. Thus, it functions as a bed but not as a sofa.

We got it re-assembled correctly and re-attached a loose spring, but the locking mechanism is busted and the sofa function is not available. Ok, it sort of is but not in a reliable way--not in a way that I would actually feel comfortable sitting on or offering as a seat to a guest. (Though, I suppose, it might work well as a seduction tool if I ever brought a man home who I wanted to seduce…)

After we figured out that it was broken for sure, my landlord said, "What do you suggest?" I hemmed and hawed and finally said, "Well, it should be replaced." He said, can you live with it like this? I said yes but that I'd really like to have a sofa.

I guess I could insist on a sofa bed--maybe I should--but it feels weird and awkward to ask them to buy me a new one. Honestly, I shouldn't have to ask: it's the cost of doing business. (Which makes me wonder…back in DC, the central a/c in my condo has gone kaput. I've asked Ken (my renter) to go ahead and get it fixed. It's 100% my cost. However, since DC has been experiencing something of a heat wave, Ken went ahead and purchased a portable a/c unit. I didn't offer to pay for it. He will (should) take it with him when he leaves. However, maybe I should offer to pay for half since it's my responsibility as the landlord to provide a/c? What do you think?)

Another weird and totally unrelated thing that's being going on with me for weeks…months, actually, is a problem I'm having typing and writing correctly. It's beyond the normal typos, or at least it feels like it. I keep missing letters--leaving them off the end of words or writing a similar but wrong word. For example, "gmai" instead of "gmail" or "taken" instead of "taking", etc. I try to be a conscientious proofreader and still, every blog post seems to contain at least two or three of these errors. It means no spontaneous posting because such pieces would be rife with errors. Before Paris, this was happening and I attributed it to my distraction and desire to get the hell out of dodge. Now? Well, while I am happier--or at least more contented--but I'm still a little fuzzy, unfocused, out of focus, directionless (but not in a bad way). Meaning, maybe that's why I'm still having this problem. Then again, maybe I'm just old. That's fine, whatever, but if you see these mistakes, don't worry, I'm well aware it's happening, I just don't know how to make it stop!

We got the quizzes back yesterday in French class and as I expected, I didn't do well. I understood everything but writing is so painful, even when it's just filling in the blanks! I did manage to get the conjugations of "avoir" (to have) and "etre" (to be) perfectly correct but I managed to conjugate most of the other verbs as though they were Spanish rather than French. I needed to study more and I should probably have sought out a study partner, but oh well. I didn't want to.

On Monday evening, I went for a beer early in the evening, planning to get the "demi". Instead, I got the fully glass (seemed like over a pint--perhaps half a liter?) because it was the same price (happy hour!). Inside the bar, football (soccer) was on, with France playing in the Euro-Cup (I believe). Now, if it hadn't been so pretty outside and so dank inside, I might have watched. Instead, I spotted an empty table outdoors and sat myself down. The tables were stacked two deep and a young woman asked if she could take the outside table. I said "oui" and she sat, soon to be joined by a friend. They got some drinks, I read a magazine, and they started to study. One had a folder just like the one I bought to hold my loose papers from class (our teacher seems to have a mania for handouts even though we have two books full of exercises). The one woman was quizzing the other but I couldn't figure out the topic.

After they wrapped it up, they spoke to me. I'm not sure how it started, but it was pretty obvious I wasn't a native and we ended up having a nice long chat mostly in English. I did proffer some French but mostly of the "am I pronouncing this correctly?" variety. They smiled a lot and asked me some questions about the States, such as, "Are there ghettos everywhere?" Now, I just witnessed (a couple of months ago) a big long debate on a listserve about how to define a "ghetto" (no consensus was reached), but instead of getting into the semantics/sociology of it, I said, "Not really, though in most major cities there are dangerous areas and remnants of previous segregation (which is now illegal) still exist." We also talked a little presidential politics and I said that if the Democrats had nominated a white man, he would have had a sure win, but I wasn't sure how much racism would figure into the election. (I'm sure it will figure somewhat, but will it make the difference? And would sexism have been an even larger hurdle?)

All in all, it was a pleasant talk and a semi-social moment. I am ready for a little socializing but there doesn't seem to be much movement on that front. Totally my own fault because I haven't been pursuing it. I'll have to give it a bit more of a push before Spesh's and my father's fears come true and I get lonely! (No word from Greg, the Frenchman I met, so I think that's a bust. Also, I'm not calling Julia, Spesh's friend.)

Also, I'm a terrible student. I still haven't made much progress preparing an oral presentation for class tomorrow. It only needs to last one minute, but ach! I did write something and ran it through google translate…is that cheating? I couldn't bear to sit down and look up every…single…word. Boring! Oh well, I guess done is done and I'll double check the questionable words and go from there. Oh, and practice. Right. She wants us to memorize this. Not gonna happen!

If you could give a one-minute presentation on anything, what would it be? What should my next one be about? I think I have do a couple more!

I'm tempted to go get some beer now…or wine…but maybe I should save that as a reward for finishing my homework. Heh.

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