This country is funny. It is a country that you can love and hate all in one day. Actually, in certain moments in my head I think, "Dear Lord, thank you for the inability to properly speak French, because if I did, I would be committing a WHOLE lot o' sin right now!!!"
I went to the bank today.
The bank, is a love hate relationship.
"Our" bank is run by a 20 year old crowd. I say "our" because once your branch is established you MUST go to that branch.
Want more checks?
You MUST go to your branch, and kindly ask the 20 year old boy for some checks.
He will tell you in French that you have just asked for one check. He will then instruct you on how to ask for more than one check.
He turns, pulls the check book from a drawer, you sign and voila you have checks.
God forbid they mail you an entire box all at one time.
Then because "my" boy does not respond to emails and online banking will not let you pull a copy of any check past 2009, you will ask him for a copy of check number 61.
When was it written?
Mais, longtemp! (but, that is a very long time)
Yes, I know, but it seems a laboratory in France forgot that I wrote them a check for 34.60 euros, check number 61 and an attorney (Angus & Parker) has sent me a letter.
Now I have "boys" attention.
Forget check 61, now he is on a mission.
He produces not one, but two pieces of official paper.
One is a letter of desistement and the other a cheque frappe d opposition.
And the copy of check 61?
Boy explains (I think) if I have a copy of my statement (releve' in French), which of course I do not pronounce properly, so we repeat releve' a few times, that I can make a copy if I feel it's necessary, but far to much time has passed for them to get any money out of me.
Welcome to daily French life.
Why produce a simple copy of the cheque, when you can produce more paper work and turn a simple task into a pissing match.
Okay, one task completed and one semi-completed.
Now I ask for my new check card that was supposed to be delivered last Wednesday.
"Boy" turns and from the same magical draw, produces my new check card. He tears a paper from it and asks me to sign again.
It was right beside the checks!!! Did he not think I would be asking for the both!?
I sign and keep my mouth shut. If I was to speak proper French, this is where I would start with the smart ass comments.
I keep quiet.
I check it out, sign and ask about a PIN code.
The pin will be mailed to me.
This link explains that the post office is striking today and the rest of the country will be striking tomorrow. I'm going to go ahead and guess they have been planing this for a while, because they attempted to deliver a package to me on September 11th and I still don't have that package.
This bit of information makes me have the boy complete one more task.
Now I need to make a cash withdrawal.
Boy is over my French now.
I finish up and thank him and I also thank him for helping me with my French. Every so seriously he looks at me and says,
Which simply means "I must".
Again, if I spoke properly, I would rattle of my MUST list from this bank that has yet to be completed.
I keep silent, with a grin.
In the words of the chef at our corner restaurant, La CoCotte,
"Sacres Francais!" (I will let you go ahead and look that one up)