There's an expression in French, c'est la vie (that's life). But I really believe some of the things that happen to me don't really happen to every one. It's just not possible!! For surely if the misadventures that find me happened to everyone, there would be an uprising and things would change. Me . . . I just get that gut wrenching I-think-I'm-going-to-be-sick feeling and then laugh about it for a while (cause I learned a long time ago, it's way more fun to laugh than cry!)
So let me tell you about my day (but actually it all happened before noon, so technically, it was only a morning). In my last post I mentioned my experience on Tuesday at the préfecture. Well, I missed class this morning to go back, this time accompanied by an other student, P. from Oz. After the hour+ commute, as we arrived in Évry, P. asked how much I thought this paperwork process would cost. Being unsure (since it's not documented in the stack of forms we had) I thought, to be safe, I'd take out 100euros from the ATM. The first one we came to was occupied, so we crossed the street to go to another bank. I inserted my card, punched in my code, asked for a receipt, and voila, there was the receipt . . . but no cash . . . no card. Instead, on the screen it stated that there was a problem and the ATM could not release my card. Trying (hard) not to panic, we went inside. Someone was already being helped at the front desk. As we waited, another man came in, interrupted and announced that the ATM had swallowed his bank card. "MINE TOO!" I added. She looked at my friend, "Yours too?" She then in formed us that we were the 4th or 5th people THIS MORNING that had their cards swallowed. So she picked up the piece of paper on her desk and handed it to the manager.
What was that piece of paper, you ask . . . the Out Of Order sign (with tape already on it, ready to hang) that they just hadn't gotten around to posting on the machine yet!!
Desperate to get my card back (and the 100euros so I could take care of what I needed to at the préfecture) I asked what was going to happen. "Come back tomorrow morning." "But I live an hour away and I have exams in the morning!" "Well, you're going to have to come back." When I enquired as to whether or not the 100euros would be debited from my account (good thing we had a chapter in the book way back when on banking terms), she assured me it would not be, took the receipt I got from the ATM and stamped it . . . as if by having a stamp on my receipt all my problems will be solved.
So, trying to swallow the worry that was creeping into the pit of my stomach, we left and headed to the préfecture just down the street. When we got there, the line was out the door and wrapped around the courtyard. I thought, "Great! Now this!" Thankful that was not the entrance we needed and we only had to wait about 5 minutes in line. When it was my turn I handed the woman my dossier and told her what I was filing for. "Oh, you have to mail that in." "But I was here two weeks ago, and was told that I could mail it or bring it in to file." "No, you have to mail it in." "But two weeks ago I was here and I was told I it would be faster to bring it in than to mail it." "We don't do that anymore." "IN TWO WEEKS!?!?!" So P. asked too. Her response was priceless: "I don't make the rules, I just give out the tickets!"
So P. and I went for a cup of coffee, because when you've struck out twice, it's best to walk away, take a deep breath, bois un café, and laugh a whole lot. And that's just what we did. The whole way home! (Which is a bit tricky to do in the train without making quite a scene!)