Susa and Leesa are a couple of Paris-based bloggers I had the good fortune of meeting yesterday at a trendy cafe on the other side of town, near the Tour Eiffel. Susa blogs about fashion, and is as lovely and interesting as she is thin. Leesa, who looked so familiar that I thought we might have met before, blogs about life in France -- and about the scrupmtious sweet things she loves to make, buy, and bake. I met them through Owen (that's him on the left), who also blogs about life in France, and who was in town this weekend to catch up with some of his old friends, some of whom now work for Green Day as tour managers/wranglers. (They put on a great show, by the way.)
One thing I didn't really have a handle on before meeting Susa and Leesa is that bloggers tend to be an insular group; their social networks consist of, while not exactly entirely, but in good part, other bloggers. Even though I don't consider myself a blogger, I guess--by virtue of me sitting here at Le 2001 Billard Club typing this entry--I'm a blogger, too, albeit a totally unknown one. I feel like an outsider in this unique, 21st century subculture, but hey: what else is new?
Today I returned to the Century 21 office on Rue Voltaire (across the street from a hair-do place called "Salon Volt-Hair") anxious to give little miss Sylvie my dossier; I was there Friday, lured by a photo in the window of an apartment for rent that was right up my alley: affordable, old (built in 1900), with wood floors, firerplaces, and pretty windows, and literally two buildings down from where I'm staying now. To rent the place (it's first-come, first-served), I needed to bring an "attestation de hebergement" explaining my current living situation, ID, my visa paperwork, and my "RIB," which is basically my debit number so rent can be withdrawn directly from my bank account.
I got there good and early, hoping to be the first person to view the new-on-the-rental-market place. When I arrived, I was greeted by little miss Sylvie, who asked if I had my paperwork in order. I reached into my bag and proudly withdrew my dossier, which she looked through before asking where my last three paystubs were. Aha! Owen warned me this would happen. Apparently, they forget to tell you when laws are changed, rules amended, or, in this case, when dossier-requirements are updated. "My last three pay stubs? The paper you gave me didn't mention that."
"Well, we need that."
If Owen were in my place, he's have called Sylvie out on that little oversight. I didn't think I had it in me to do it, but it was either that or start crying.
"I just moved here a week ago," I said. "How am I supposed to provide you with three pay stubs? I have a working visa, but I haven't had time to find a job yet."
"Well, that's just too bad," she said, more or less. Then we sat and stared at each other for a while. The word "awkward" seems appropriate to describe those moments. Finally, I said something along the lines of "Surely you've had other people like me here wanting to rent apartments. Is there anything else that can be done? Can't I put up more money or something?"
Finally, she said she'd see what she could do, then made copies of a couple of the documents before telling me she'd call me tomorrow. I'm not holding my breath, but I have to be hopeful. I have no other choice.
I got a rare email from Jeff yesterday; he's still cycling around the south and says he might return to Paris as early as Wednesday. I could use a friend right now, so I hope Wednesday is the day. A clap of thunder just rumbled through the hot Paris evening, timed almost perfectly to the growling of my stomach. Back to the little apartment for salad, baguette, and a spot of Monoprix ratatouille.