Upon arrival at 1:37pm I found that the department I needed was only opened until noon (looks like I'll be missing class Thursday morning). But since I was there I had a question about another set of documents that I have to send by mail. I waited in line for half an hour only to receive attitude and sarcasm from the woman behind the desk. She was so incredibly patronizing that I got really flustered and could barely speak in French. I sounded something like this:
I have a docier for my visa. I was told that I send to here . . . this. But, here, this say to send to Palaiseau préfecture . . . uh, sous-préfecture . . . I lives in Massy, so I sends to Palaiseau. (She interrupted me, impatiently, and informed me that I could just drop my file in the box to her right. She looked to the next person.) But I not it finish already . . . again . . . already . . . yet. But, I want to be sure I to send here, not Palaiseau. (She was very annoyed at this point: That's what I told you, Madame. Put it in the box.) I not it finish, I mails. (The look on her face led me to believe that it was my nervous French which drove her to drink: What is it exactly that you want? Tell me. Maybe if you could tell me I can do something for you. But you can't even tell me. TELL ME!) I pulled out the document again and showed here where it stated if I live in Massy I should send it to the sous-préfecture in Palaiseau, not the préfecture in Évry: I want to be sure I to send right place. It say here different than You tell to me . . . it not same thing here . . . not same thing. (At this point I'd ruined her day . . . or at least her five minutes. Her expression said it all: YOU ARE STUPID. So I left.)But I can honestly tell you that not everyone in France thinks I'm an idiot! (No . . . the punch line is not: I just haven't spoken to the rest of them) On Saturday I went back to the therapy course for the afternoon. Unsure if I'll be able to make it at all this coming weekend, I decided to talk with the guy who organizes these types of courses (he works for one of the OT programs at a university in Paris). While I was waiting for him, the rehab doc who had been giving the course came and stood next to me and started staring at me as if I should really have been waiting for him. So I turned and mentioned that I understood he had worked in NYC at one point. He was thrilled to find out that I am a New Yorkeuse! We got to talking (en français of course) and he started asking questions: where do you work . . . if you don't work in Paris, what are you doing here . . . you're studying French, but you speak really well . . . no, really, you do . . . (please note all of the details I'm leaving out) . . . here, take my card and email me so we can set up for you to do some observation hours . . . you really must continue coming to our Friday afternoon courses . . . let me introduce you to one of the OT's who works for me . . . wow!! You really speak well! And you've only been studying since September! Wow!! Maybe when you're done in Niger you'll want to come work in France, just let me know.