Mrs Kravitz and Me

Feb 5, Paris

Dear French People Everywhere:

How is it that the country responsible for the inventors of the internal combustion engine and the submarine is not able find someone to install a dryer which actually dries clothes?

Also, if I may burden you once more, why, if it’s not OK to look a stranger in the eye on the subway or the sidewalk, is it perfectly reasonable for your elderly French neighbor (whom you’ve never met) to ring your doorbell at 8am and ask to borrow your phone?

Waiting in Apartment 4,
Yours truly.

Madame Kravitz (not her real name) lives in the apartment next to us. She’s rung the doorbell three times already today. I am currently sequestered and refusing to answer her pleas even though there is zero chance she doesn’t know I’m here since the floors in this apartment scream when I make the slightest gesture. She scares me. Not in the “ooh, you’re going to do something bad to me” way. More in the “why in the name of Pete are you ringing my doorbell all day” way.

imageDavid goes to French class every weekday and although I know he likes it, he’s entered that paradigm where he can no longer communicate in any language. It is brain overload and I commend him for reaching this plateau so early in his studies. When my sister and I studied here, we didn’t go all Hellen Keller on each other until week two. (Remember, Joan?)

Hear no evil, speak no evil. Hear and speak no French either.
Joan and me, 2013

À la prochaine!


  1. Could you use my “please don’t sit by me technique” for airplanes that have general seating? I find leaning over an air sick bag with my head in my hands is a good way to keep the seat next to me open. Perhaps you could answer the door with you head hanging over a bucket and a few gutteral groans. I think those sounds are part of a universal language. And whatever you do, don’t look her in the eye.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember the brain overload very well unfortunately. The foggy feeling was so strange and not being able to think of ordinary words in either language.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s