I Was in Love with the Place in My Mind
|rue Cler looking all cute|
I wasn’t going to write about this because it’s an everyday French inconvenience that seems trivial when you live here, and deal with worse, but then La Poste sent me all the way to Thomas d’Aquin, so I figured why not send people to a much nicer and more knowledgable location?
I know it’s just Thomas d’ Aqujn, or possibly Invalides, I have no idea where the border is because I pay so little attention to that area. It's a deadzone full of embassies and government buildings. I know it's not exactly Lamarck, but that’s beside the point.
For those that don’t know the 7th is basically spilt in 4. You have Thomas d’Aquin and Invalides on the east (of Invalides), Gros Caillou to the west, and 'Ecole Militaire' (Breteuil) to the south, but that place is also a dead zone so ain't no one going there.
I would expect the post office to know this, but the problem is that Saint Dominique, Université, and Grenelle run through the district east to west. They’re not as long as Vaugirard, but they are 3 digit streets. But again I would expect the post office to know what buildings are on which side. And I cannot believe that “my” location is Rodin because it doesn’t make sense when there are two locations that are closer.
I have a love/hate relationship with my neighborhood. I recently realized that the two neighborhoods I love most in Paris (GC and Belleville) are because they feel like small villages. The problem with my village is that it’s constantly overrun with tourists. It will take you double the time to get anywhere because it’s chaos on them streets. I didn't choose this spot for Champ de Mars, and I would say it's the worst selling point of the neighborhood, but it is what it is. I love my neighborhood enough to deal with it.
On the other hand it’s a good thing because it means that most of the people in your neighborhood are not monocultural. I know the argument is going to be "but in America", in America we speak two languages. And believe me if you’ve spoken to any other expats you’ll know how important multiculturalism is. Especially as a female. One girl was even looking for a voice changer because France is sexist AF. In the year of our lord Beyonce 2022 they stay asking for the "man of the house". Seriously an entire country of Kerouacs running the asylum... the patriarchy is very much alive and thriving here*.
|You ever love a character because they is you?|
So anyway my postman failed to ring my bell and for whatever reason La Poste decided to make me pickup my package at Rodin. I argued with them but no dice. Why Rodin??? Because they think 'you are on rue de Grenelle, the post office is on rue de Grenelle, bien sur'. And they're the post office? Even Avenue Rapp would have been closer. But they refused to transfer it. I had to drag my ass over there in the middle of the afternoon (I wake up when I want, stop judging). I chose to not do it on Wednesday because kids and tourists, or a weekend. I figured you couldn't go wrong with a basic ass Tuesday.
The sun was not particularly shining, I was really hoping it would be a smooth walk (across Invalides). #bitchyouthought I didn't even make it very far before I got stuck behind an old gay couple going 1 mph. And I had decided two birds one stone so I was lugging around this stupidly large Amazon box. Tourists kept getting too close and I kept wacking them with the box. It's still Covid times, not even wearing a mask, like ew, 6 ft apart.
After what felt like forever, I was about near Solferino and contemplating how lazy it would be to take an Uber back (anything to avoid the tourists) when I almost walked past the entrance. The post offices in France are what you’d expect, but this one was particularly dim and dingy. It was actually yellow in there (???). I got my package, and then went to the "franking" machine to print out a label. As usual it didn't work and the La Poste lady really told me "ohhh, too bad" and bounced. She really scurried to “the back” and hid.
Yes, she did that. And there was no one else there. Usually I would be taken aback, but I've lived here for 7 years. I know. FYI I cannot fucking stand passive aggressive micro aggressions. Say it with ya whole chest. Anyway she never came back so I said 'fuck this shit' and dragged that stupid box back to right side of Invalides, wacking tourists all the way home.
|when they try you|
As an expat you gotta hold your tongue a lot. I don't condone Karening, and in the US it's usually uncalled for because everyone is so nice. But in France? The urge to Karen is a difficult one to suppress. My face conveys a lot so at least there's that, but I wish I had the French vocabulary skills to really let my inner bitch out. Like those old ladies at the boulangerie who are extra cunt. They are my goal. That is the only reason to learn French, in my opinion.
But until you're bilingual in bitch, go to the La Poste on rue Cler. I don't try to make returns, like I will literally stuff it in the back of my closet never to be seen from again, and eat the cost, before I will return something. Money is not as important as my time. But for some reason Amazon forces you go to the post office sometimes. If you're dealing with rue Cler that's fine, because the man who runs my UPS dropoff is cranky. You can tell he hates Amazon (and you), with everything in him, for making him do that crap.
I can't remember what I was returning, I think it was some 70€ plug I couldn't justify keeping. So I saved up a bunch of stuff I wanted to return and then spent 3 days talking myself into it. I went to the post office around noon, had no idea what to do because the machine wasn’t working, and flagged down the girl working there. Her name was Celia, and she was doing like 50 things at once because the post office at rue Cler stays busy no matter the time of day.
Celia was like what's all this? I explained, and she was like 'I got you'. And Celia didn't complain. Celia had jokes. Celia handled it.
So next time you gotta mail something, return something, or buy some stamps, go to little America. So far (fingers crossed) they've been the most helpful. And an honorable mention goes out to La Poste Passy. They are also quite helpful and nice.
But steer clear the ones on the outskirts. My friend, who is a newbie here, and goes to ESSEC, so not in Paris, was shellshocked when she went to the post office and the lady dragged her for filth for not speaking French. She read her from Cergy to Paris. Granted she just got here in September so what could she even say in French? Count to ten? But she was so shocked when it happened. Bring up La Poste around her and she will rant. She got PTSD. But that's what I'm talking about it when I say you get used to 'it'.
*Except the men who work for Logistique (for Monoprix), they are the nicest French people on the planet.