Where I'm Home

photo, cabinet coming out window Out this far, everybody got nervous.

Camping In the Rue Cels

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 3. November:–  I am the proud owner of a drawing cabinet. It is made out of wood and some of it might be oak and it has ten wide and deep flat drawers. Empty, it weighs a lot and full it weighs a lot more. I paid 50 marks for it in Hamburg when a publishing company was changing over to Herman Miller frippery and throwing out their antiques. We put the cabinet on the roof of a Beetle and in Barmbek we hauled it up the stairs to the sixth floor. It went through the doorway. That is what good German beer can do for you.

A moving company got it down from the sixth floor and brought it to Paris and put it into an apartment in Meudon. Then it moved 200 metres west to the top floor of a house in Sevres. From there it went to an apartment in Yvelines where the movers gave up and abandoned it outside the door. A tribe of Italian tile guys from across the street hauled it up a ladder without a safety net and put it in through a window. Eventually it came out the same way and moved to the 14th in Paris, where it entered through a sidewalk–level window.

photo, cabinet ready for window dropJust how far down is it?

With a power lift the next moving company put it in through a third–floor window when I moved a few blocks six years ago. On Saturday my latest crew of movers tied some rags together and tried to lower it from the window. It would not quite reach the sidewalk, it weighed too much, and they couldn't control it. One of the movers went off to find screwdrivers, to take a door apart. Taking the oak top off the cabinet helped too. In all it probably added two hours to everyone's day.

Really, I don't move often but I move more than I want to. Each move is fraught – can the drawing cabinet keep up? Do I really need an oversize drawing cabinet? Ask yourself – if you had eighty hand–made Italian silk shirts all with Nelson Mandela patterns, would you abandon your oversize teak dresser? You know the answer.

This latest episode had nothing to do with getting booted out of my apartment, my home for the past six years. How could I know my landlord wouldn't freak at the financial crises and change his mind about moving back to Paris to get rich in the publishing business? But he persisted. Out I am.

On the face of it, nothing amiss. Correct notice, legal reason. Only, here on the ground in the 14th arrondissement, nobody but nobody is giving up their beautiful or crappy one bedroom apartment because they need another room to put the coming baby in – it might even be twins or triplets the way folks get their late starts these days. They are not doing this because other folks in those two bedroom apartments can't get credit, loans to buy their dream three bedroom house in the dreary suburbs where they have the car pools and the soccer moms. The whole world is stuck.

It's the fault of nobody, not even our leader, President Sarkozy. I could blame those Masters of the Universe on Wall Street but I'm sure they had their reasons, those greedy bastards. Some of them are probably homeless like me tonight. You know, like maybe one or two – no, the people who are homeless are folks like me and you, the modest folk, the payers of taxes, the workers, charladies, fastfood waiters, newsboys, and pump jockeys.

photo, rue raymond losserrand In advance for Christmas?

For the past six months while I have been seeking new lodgings, I have also been asking, what happened to all those millions of folks, entire families, who got foreclosed and turfed out into the street? You saw, you see the TV images of their furniture piled in the front yard with the bank's signs, the folks bewildered, the kids stunned – and I always wondered, what happens next? A million folks thrown out – where do they go?

I don't know. I am sticking in the 14th. I am not tempted by phantom apartment offers in the 13th or the 15th, more phantom than the phantom offers in the 14th because they are further away in foreign arrondissements. If I am going to be homeless then I would rather be homeless where I'm home.

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At the moment I am installed in a hotel around the corner from where I used to live. Today I tramped the arrondissement. One thing always asked for by people pretending to be in the real estate business, is my telephone number. Well, since Saturday I am sans domicile fixe so I don't have a phone. The portable phone I bought at the La Poste on Friday has yet to have its user manual deciphered. I have other handicaps too, but don't want to snivel.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club on Thursday, 6. November will most likely not happen because the club's secretary will be looking for new lodgings. I am not a bit sorry about this because as long as I have no new home I cannot watch my large giantscreen TV and there will be no Wednesday movie nights until further notice. Watch this space for possible updates of a positive nature.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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