People in France drop by unannounced. That's not true. They announce it, I just can't read well enough to tell if said announcement applies to me. Our building is getting refurbished and this morning a woman dropped by to ask me questions regarding the apartment. The night before, I had done laundry, but hadn't put it away. Directly next to our mattress-on-the-floor (we call this kind of thing a 'bed'), was a pile of panties that actually rose up higher than the mattress itself, remarkably close to the head of our "bed." Wanting her to know both that the panty pile is A) clean and B) that I do not normally sleep with my face in a heap of them, I said in horrid, horrid French:
"This is not me. No! This (pointing to the panty pile and turning red with embarassment) is not me. I am not like this. I am more good. I am more fresh. I promise, I am more fresh!"
I don't know the French words for 'clean,' 'organized,' 'put together,' 'not dirty,' or 'You have to believe me when I say that I don't go to sleep to the smell of fresh panties.'
[suit-sporting woman]: Do you live with someone else maybe?
[Me]: Yes, I lives with my boyfriend.
Really long, awkward silence. Notes being made in a leather-bound notebook. Stern looks abound. By now, I've told the suit-sporting, totally put together, totally not wearing her pajamas and sporting Rod Stewart hair woman standing in my bedroom that "I am more fresh" than the pile of my own underwear comfortably situated next to the head of my bed.
[suit-sporting woman]: Does your landlord know [long pause] about your boyfriend?
[Me]: Yes, yes, of course. There is not some problems with him. Everything is very goods.
[suit-sporting woman]: [very long uber-French sigh here] Ok well, that's certainly...interessant
. I will speak with my colleagues. If we need anything else, we'll call. Good day.
Ashamed of my messiness, I looked at the panty mass on the floor, then replayed what had happened in my head, blaming the awkwardness on my own sloppiness. I didn't realize until 30 minutes later that the disapproving glances weren't directed at me, but at the purported panty-sporting boyfriend, but by that time, she was gone. I wouldn't have known how to have begun that explanation anyway. I can imagine that it would have gone sour immediately, culminating in me trying on my own underwear, producing a jock strap in one hand and tie in the other to prove that men's clothing runs amuk in our attic apartment and that the person leaving fresh piles of ladies panties suspiciously near the head of our bed is me. This would have ended in me screaming in terrible, broken Frenglish that besides, even if he wanted to wear Victoria's Secret while he cooks, the boyfriend still wouldn't deserve your snotty, disapproving, Euro glances because he would still BALL SWEAT MORE AWESOME THAN YOU'LL EVER HAVE IN YOUR LIFE, YOU JUDGMENTAL CHANEL NUMBER FIVE BITCH!!
The boyfriend is currently at culinary school, no doubt making something delicious to bring home to his girlfriend who has told the building that he's a cross-dresser, that he owns boatloads of women's underwear which he leaves in dead, wrinkled piles on the floor, and that even with a haircut resembling the ugly one from Three's Company, she's still "more fresh" than that. Welcome home Mattera, welcome home.