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One of these Mondays I'll do something fun

FRANCE | Friday, 25 September 2015 | Views [346] | Comments [1]

Monday being the one weekday that I don’t have any classes, it tends to be when I schedule or plan on getting around to doing all of my boring things. Other times, it ends up being when other people ask me to do things. Those both turned out to be true, so on Monday I had the thrilling schedule of switching French classes, switching TD sections for topology, going to the bank to get a checkbook, (and maybe see if they needed anything else from me) going to the office to drop off a ticket I would not longer be able to use (and maybe see if they needed anything else from me) and meeting with my landlord.

Given I had so much that needed to be done during business hours, I’d intended to get to the university in the morning. But when my alarm went off, my mind made the very reasonable case that I’d gotten up at five the previous morning, and I didn’t really need to get up yet. I didn’t *really* need to be up until 18:00 when I was meeting with my landlord. So by the time I’d gotten up, gotten out the door, and made the commute, it was after 11.

I was not super optimistic about still finding anyone, but there were people in the French Foreign Language office who were willing and able to transfer me. She asked if I was free on Mondays, and, because I was, I said yes. I regretted it almost immediately. I like having Mondays free. I’ve made my Fridays terrible because of that. And yes, a 18:00 course would still give me the flexibility to essentially have a three-day weekend. But it wasn’t the same.

The person in charge of academic registration was about to go out to lunch, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to her. I went back to my own apartment (might as well, since nothing was open during lunch) and then resumed my tasks.

Requesting a checkbook: surprisingly simple. (Until it turns out when I go back for it next week that they lost the request or something. It wouldn’t surprise me.) The insurance/change of address thing I need to do? Eh… close enough? (I have no idea.)

The office trip went smoothly, and gave me an added appreciation for not being enrolled in classes at Paris 8. Classes start this week, and the schedule had just changed completely. At least, the parts of the schedule that can still be seen. For the people who had chosen their classes based on the times, this was particularly troublesome. (Again, freaking humanities majors. Things you hear science majors say: “I’ve never had a break in the middle of the day before. Like… what am I supposed to do with these two hours that I’m not in class?” Things you don’t hear science majors say: “I was going to take calculus, but then I realized it was a 9 AM class. And the building is all the way on the other side of campus.” You don’t hear this, because such people don’t have the necessary courses to complete their science degree.)

And, speaking of switching courses… back to the university I went. First step: back to the French Office to tell them that I’d just remembered I had a conflict on Mondays. I was prepared to lie and make up something about a weekly pro-seminar meeting for Brown in France. I was not prepared to come back to campus every single Monday. Especially not when I’d looked at the name on the slip and recognized it as being the same instructor for last week’s course. I didn’t have a very high opinion of her, and really wasn’t looking forward to it.

So, they consulted theirs lists of students and found that there was an opening on… Fridays. So you know that hour break I had between four hours of math and one hour of French? Gone, and replaced with another hour of French.

One of these days, I had better have a Monday that makes that completely worthwhile.

From there, on to the pedagogic inscription and hope she hadn’t left for the day. She hadn’t, and, was able to switch the TD sections right away. She asked why, but that seemed to be more out of curiosity than anything else. Well, at least something had been simple…

Deciding that I needed to do something fun today, I decided to head to the mathematics library. This was considerably harder than switching TD sections, because it required knowing exactly what library you were going for (there were several, including a general library for L1 and L2 and then specialized libraries for L3 and Masters) and somehow finding the address. Given the mathematics library is underground, you couldn’t even just wander around looking for large numbers of books.

The library was nice, though. Lots of students were working quietly, and there were plenty of books to admire. The books were in a mix of French and English, with slightly more French books, but not by a huge margin. It was also interesting to look at the ratio subject by subject. Topology, there were way more books in French. Algebra, it was a more even mix. There were more English Graph Theory books then French. And, if there were books in any other languages, I didn’t notice them. Just English and French.

Sadly, I had to tear myself away from the books and go to pay my landlady. For reasons that I didn’t question until I started heading there, she’d asked for us to meet at the same cafe we’d been at last time. Which was completely illogical. Neither of us lived nearby, the bank that I needed to get the money out of was not nearby, and there was essentially nothing drawing us to that point tonight. Further, I didn’t even know the name of that cafe. I had to find the FNAC and literally retrace my steps to be sure that we’d gotten the right one. And, once we were there, unless we wanted to hand over large amounts of cash and write receipts there in the street,we needed a table. Which meant going in and ordering coffees.

She asked me about how the internet box was working, and I had to tell her “It wasn’t. Erin said she’d contact you about it.”

“But what wasn’t working about it?”

I gave a brief description.

“Did you send in the card?”

“No, because it stopped working. I gave everything to Erin.”

“Of course it wasn’t working. It wasn’t supposed to work until they had information about the owner and the user.”

“But it was working for a bit. And then it stopped.”

“But why didn’t you send in our information?”

Because I was not supposed to be responsible for paying for my own internet, and especially not for anyone who might come after me? “Erin said she would talk to you about this.”

“She hasn’t.”

“She said she would. I don’t have anything else to do with this.”

“You know, I’m not going to do this next year. It really is just way too much work, and all of the students in the past arranged it for themselves.” (Pause) “Let’s stop talking about this.”


“But you should have sent in-”

“You said let’s stop talking about this. Let’s stop talking about this.”


Long, awkward silence as we drank our coffees. I handed over the rest of this month’s rent, and she asked if I had the receipt sheet. I didn’t, so she said she’d just make a note of it in her agenda. So I tore a sheet of paper out of my notebook and handed it over. She looked at it askance, like I should have brought that out earlier. Apparently paper is a thing I need to bring to all future meetings and mention right away.

That taken care of, we were completely out of things to say to each other. But we still had our coffees to finish. So we sat there, in complete silence, for the most part not even looking at each other. Which is a kind of impressive feat when you’re sitting at a cafe table right across from each other. Coffee finished, she paid for it and made some excuse about how she needed to go, (I know it was an excuse because I nearly ran into 10 minutes later when she was looking at jewellery in a window display. Not complaining that she had to leave, but why bother making up an excuse about how she had things to do?) and with that, I’d finally paid for September’s rent. Only another week or so before I need to start arranging it for October.

Question for real adults: do rent payments typically involve guilt-tripping by the landlord and a lot of awkward silence? Because I really wouldn’t know.

Tags: apartment, banks, registration, rent



Rent payment usually involves sending a check, often via mail, with no direct interaction. No guilt trips or exchange of cash, with a reasonable landlord.

  Barry Sep 25, 2015 10:21 AM

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