Culture Magazine

The Bad Neighbor

By Sedulia @Sedulia

Yesterday morning the gardienne came up to ask us not to use the water in the front of the apartment at all, all day. Workmen are doing travaux (renovation work) on the apartment upstairs from us, the one my nice neighbors have just sold. Kind of inconvenient, and above all noisy when you're trying to work, but that comes with the territory of living in a city apartment.

The new neighbors seem very nice. They are a young family and came and introduced themselves, and offered to pay for the ceiling mark where their workmen disturbed a place where a chandelier hook used to be in our living room, so I am well disposed to them. They are doing only the minimum renovation before they move in, since they have small children, and the apartment was in good shape. But not everyone in the building is happy to accommodate yet more travaux so soon after the building was ravalé a year ago-- which took several months (luckily for us, right before we moved back in after three years away).

This afternoon as I was going out I saw the gardienne and a friend of hers from down the street. The gardienne seemed agitated and as she is a calm, patient person, I stopped to ask what had happened.

"You know how we asked everyone in the building not to use the toilettes and faucets and showers in the back of the building today?" she said. "Because the workmen had the water pipes open?"

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 "Someone did anyway?" I asked.

"Oui! Monsieur R" [grumpy old guy on the fourth floor, who has lived here his whole life]! Twice! The young man got a faceful two times. He was so disgusted!"

"How awful!" I said. "Did Monsieur R forget?"

"Oh no, he didn't forget. He said he's sick of travaux in the building and he didn't care, it wasn't chez lui!"

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