Thursday, 31 October 2013

No Money, No Mates

So I’m shacked up in Paris in a 48 year old man's spare room. He seems cool, plus he's not even here so I'm pretending his amazing apartment is my own. It’s fancy as fuck. Makes sense being as a quick Google search revealed that its owner is actually a renowned artist and film maker. The family have promised to find me my own studio apartment soon though- well, so they said over a month ago... I’m crossing my wonky little fingers that it'll be happening in the not-so-distant future. As much as I’m revelling in this deluded fantasy that I’ve somehow managed to afford a flat this big and beautiful in my favourite area of the city on a budget of approximately... nothing, I need my own space and a clear cut off point at the end of the working day (my working day consisting of chasing a six year old, E.V.P., round on his endless play dates and answering to his every ridiculous whim.) However, my setting, with its enormous windows, even bigger desks, and tasteful minimal decor is definitely easing my unease somewhat. This place is so perfect I don’t know how P.P. (the father of the child I’m minding, and coincidentally the bachelor who’s pad I am claiming as my own) can ever bring himself to leave it. I know that I, for one, am struggling to ever do anything with my day. I’ve taken to staying in bed ‘til 12, only venturing out to buy pastries or get coffee. Quelle surprise. The longest summer of my life appears to be continuing indefinitely.
As blissful and carefree and erm... laidback(?!) as I’m potentially making this set up sound, I had a mini (medium-sized) breakdown yesterday when it really sunk in that I live here now. It’s exactly what I wanted. Exactly what I wanted. AND YET. And yet...
I am slightly under the impression that I’m just living someone else’s life- their life, more precisely. These people fly to New York at a moment’s notice, go to Albania to meet with the president, don’t book their return tickets until the day before they leave, and throw out perfectly good food before its expiry date. It’s a lot. A.V., the mum of my charge, is scatter-brained to put it politely. She’ll call me out of the blue at 7 to work at... 7. Which is fine, for now. Luckily for her (less luckily for me) I have no social life or mates to speak of yet, so I’m more than happy to coax and bribe and beg a teeny tot to eat his dinner, to stay off the iPad, to brush his teeth, to go to bed, to stay in bed, to stop screaming, to stop spitting and to PLEASE JUST STAY IN YOUR BED UNTIL MORNING, I REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME, I’M NOT JOKING, DOES THIS FACE LOOK LIKE I’M MESSING AROUND? NO, YOUR MUM DID NOT SAY YOU COULD STAY UP ‘TIL SHE GOT HOME, I SAID NO IPAD, NO! PUT IT DOWN! GET INTO YOUR BED, FOR THE LAST TIME, HOW OLD ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU ACTING LIKE A BABY THEN? DON’T PULL MY NECKLACE, STAY IN YOUR BED!, at a moment’s notice. So yeah, I’m more than happy to do that for now. 
But what happens when I do start going out? I am going to have some mates soon, I’ll definitely find some. Right?
Just... how? And where? Where is a 22 year old girl English girl, whose French is only any good once she’s had at least six drinks (at which point she admittedly thinks she is French), and whose only colleague is six, meant to pick up like-minded friends? It’s just not something that’s going to happen naturally. How could it? I’m not meeting anyone, and I haven’t got anyone to go out with to meet anyone to go out with to meet anyone. Ah merde. And even if I were to go out (on my own??) I’m not sure that I would have it in me to approach anyone and offer up a hilarious anecdote or something similar to show them that I’m a laugh. Plus, I’m 99% sure I’m not a laugh in any languages other than English. Even in English I’m an acquired taste. Bloody hell. This is so daunting. I’ve always been someone who likes to have a few really good, close palz, rather than 500 fair weather friends, so I don’t really know what I’m doing. I told R.D., ‘It’s really starting to dawn on me that I’m going to need some mates,’ and her response was, ‘Why? I don’t have any.’ So at least there’s always that.
My main concern (well, one of) is where are fully grown girls meant to meet other girls? Or boys that just want fun platonic friendships with no ulterior motives? In the local Monoprix? On the metro? Waiting outside E.V.P.’s school? It’s just not viable!!!
To continue my moaning, I’m feeling acutely unfulfilled in my work life too. As much as dressing up as Captain America and competitively honing my Beyblade skills fills me with glee, I can’t help but think, ‘shouldn’t I be working on my career at this point in my little life?’ All of my experience so far has been working with children, apart from my flash in the pan three week stint at a celebrity and lifestyle magazine, and I don’t dream of making my fortune (ha!) looking after other people’s children. Truly I don’t. I was hoping that E.V.P.’s well connected, creative parents (his mum is a film producer) might well connect me, and inspire the creator in me. Before I came we agreed that I’d help them out with whatever they needed help with, but while I had visions of helping them with press releases and scripts, they had other plans (namely, ice hockey meets and pizza parties.) I mean... I helped out with a film review last week and I'm meant to be doing some more soon. But as with all of A.V.’s promises, there are no concrete dates or plans ever provided. That side of things is fun (the working in the office part, not the never knowing where I stand part.) I want more o’ that. I want lots more o’ that.
Last, but by no means least, in my list of ailments: money. Puff Daddy and Mase once famously said, ‘Mo’ money, mo’ problems’, but I beg to differ. Admittedly, maybe if the song had been called, ‘No money, mo’ problems’ it wouldn’t have been quite such a hit, but I bet lost souls in their early 20s all over the world would have nodded their (poor) little heads with their hands in their (empty) pockets whenever it came on the radio, sighing, ‘you said it, Mase...’ (Poor Mase, he never deserved such a premature demise. I, personally, really liked ‘Welcome Back.’) Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is this one: I am financially s t r u g g l i n g. Uphill struggling. It’s quite the stark contrast when A.V. is giving me 50s to take E.V.P. to the cinema to see ‘Planes‘ and then 2 hours later I’m fumbling around in the bottom of my handbag to find an unused metro ticket. I’m meant to be getting paid monthly, but I’ve only seen a fraction of my first month’s pay, which was ironically given to me the night before I got my purse stolen in the local McDonald’s... WAH. (I was clearly being punished for my late night piggin’.) Paris is not a city that you can enjoy fully if you have no money. On average, brunch costs €22, drinks cost €8, coffee costs €4, and the cinema costs €12. On average, my daily budget at the minute is... €5. You see how far that gets me?
Fittingly, I had a very enlightening conversation with E.V.P. during the aforementioned trip to see ‘Planes.‘ He decided he wanted me to buy him a ‘cadeau‘ (prezzie), and ‘no, popcorn doesn’t count, silly!’ This conversation then followed:
Me: I can’t buy you a present bubba, I have no money.
E.V.P.: Just pay with paper money. They’ll give you change!
Me: I have no paper money.
E.V.P.: Well just pay with your card!
Me: I have no card, sweetie.
E.V.P.: (Blank look)
Me: (laughing) I’m poor!
E.V.P.: ...Is your mum poor?
Me: No... just me.
E.V.P.: Do you have a house?
Me: Nope. I’m living at your daddy’s house.
E.V.P.: (Blank look. Silent for a few minutes.) So... how do you have that phone if you’re poor?
Me: I bought it before I was poor.
At this point he lost interest in the whole thing, the concept of having no money being so entirely foreign to him. We then proceeded to while away another leg of the journey by singing ‘Billie Jean‘ and swinging arms. Then he piped up one last time to say, ‘I like my grandma best. She buys me whatever I want.’

To-do list for... now   
-Ask my employers to pay me
-Ask my employers to find me a more permanent abode
-Ask my employers to let me accompany them on future trips to New York and Albania
-Get some mates
-Get a life (one that goes beyond watching ‘Misfits’ with a baguette as a bed partner)

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