Oy. The father and son combo next door are at it again. Hollering and throwing stuff around since seven thirty or so. By turns we, the neighbors, stick our heads out of windows or stroll by for damage control. The storm seems to be tapering off.*
Along with the first draft of schedules yesterday, I received the news my hourly wages were floating up into an unheard-of stratosphere. My gross hourly salary (gross in every sense of the word) of ten euro translated into a net of seven euro seventy centimes i.e. below minimum wage. Henceforth, at fifteen euro gross, I’ll carry home eleven euro fifty-five centimes for each hour worked. No vacation pay, of course, but medical coverage and a signed contract that will take me to end of June 2016. Compared to many people I know? I’m rich. (Not compared to the man who received thirteen million euro as a golden handshake for two years spent putting ten thousand people out of work? You bet. Who wants to belong to a crowd so obscene?)
An eye-to-eye conversation at the jeweler’s yesterday. (Six euro battery replacement for the wristwatch I didn’t need all summer). The woman insists the word racist does not apply to her mindset. Apparently, by avoiding the R word, she’s allowed to express… words fail here, they didn’t fail yesterday. “To each his opinion,” she said. “As far as I’m concerned, this country is finished.” – “To each his opinion,” I answered. “I put my bet on life.” Well, to each his own, she said. She took her six euro and I took my watch.
Used to be (four years ago), a change of address on a residency card was handled at the local level. No more. I’ll need a trip to Albi, new passport-type photos, a document I can’t download from the web, a proof of new address. No, the lease won’t do; I must produce a bill from a phone service (land line) or a power provider. Probably a cost too, that I’ll discover once I’ve made the trip, stood in line, and reached the wicket. No cash accepted. Must buy excise tax stamps. Take new waiting line ticket.
Bring book. Definitely bring a book.
(The proto draft bumps along.)
*The storm has tapered off. The father’s still alive. I assume the same holds true for the son.