Sunday, June 15, 2008

Surveillance

We got back from England early the other morning after a temporary breakdown at the Dover ferry terminal. We were in line to drive on the 2 PM departure, knowing full well if we shut off the engine the car might not start up again. But we absolutely had to get a quick cup of tea in the cafe after travelling all morning without stopping.

Between us, Eric and I have lived through several lifetimes of worn out vehicles, tow trucks and roadside assistance, so missing the ferry and spending a few extra hours dockside waiting for a repair was nothing new. We were able to catch the 6 o'clock ferry and it was fascinating to learn that some people actually arrive a good two and a half or even three hours before departure time, instead of skidding and squealing through the gates just before the boat leaves. Car maintenance, careful preparation and allowing plenty of time is our new code of behavior. In theory at least.

It's good to put aside all the frivolous work of finishing the album now, and concentrate on what really matters: surveillance.

First, there are all of our properties. We don't actually own any of them. We're merely real estate stalkers.

"That place across from the supermarket is still for sale."
"Which one, the little fifties-style house across from the ATAC or the partially-finished barn conversion out past the Intermarche?"

"They're working on that place next to the beauty parlor."
"What, the old auberge?"
"No, on the other side. With the maroon shutters. I noticed them clearing out a lot of rubble."
"Better check back and see what's going on with that."

There's the weird house with workshop next to the tower, the plain but with good potential fixer-upper two doors down from the furniture repair place, the cute but impractical maison de garde-barriere that we fell in love with two years ago.

And that's just the properties. There are our business interests as well.

"That corner store for rent? I think someone's moving in."
"It looks like a pharmacy."
"Wait, but there's a pharmacy up the road. I don't think the village is big enough for two pharmacies."
"It's them. They're expanding into the bigger space on the corner."
"Oh. Good."

"You know that British hairdresser that was opening across from the church?"
"Uh-huh."
"I think they changed their minds. The sign's gone."
"Oh. Good."

And on and on. There are also all the blogs of strangers, friends and family members, plus the myspace pages of my brothers & daughter (and even some of her friends if her page is lacking pertinent details/updated information). Keeping tabs on our turf war rivals. All of this barely leaves time for maintaining watch on the moral behavior of our local commercants.

"Wasn't that the boulanger going into the tavern across from the chateau?" Like in school, where you can't believe your teacher could possibly exist outside of the classroom, it seems so incongruous and...somehow extra tawdry.

Which is why we must remain vigilant.

Sometimes it even pays off. Like just yesterday, I noticed a new business opening down the road. We better take a walk later and check it out - it might be a car mechanic.

7 comments:

travelling, but not in love said...

Sounds like you truly are the scariest people in your village...

Rosie said...

nice that you are back...I tried to follow the link that you gave me but it was a dead end and I cant find the article...frustration.
How is the album coming along?

murat11 said...

Love the property management. I wonder if you all also indulge in giving people tickets for unconscionable, ticket-able behavior. You know, things like talking during movies (or not talking), talking during massages (or not talking), taking 15 items through the 10 item limit express line (is this just Amerikan?), voting Republican (major felony, a book of tickets), eating the last piece of chocolate, etc. Nashville would have been a good place to develop ticketing strategies, methinks.

amy said...

Finally, tbnil!

Rosie I sent you another link, hope you can find the article.

Murat you're absolutely right about Nashville, it would've been ticket-writing left and right for offenses such as sport sandals and shorts on stage, long pony tails on men & of course Kroger would've had its own separate category...

Dick said...

My parents lived in France for many years and every high summer they'd come back to Britain and we'd have the house for 6 weeks. I'd spend valuable swimming and drinking time obsessively checking out the new developments and the agence immobiliere window displays. Moneymaking fantasies would follow and by the end of the 6 weeks I'd have the move all sorted out. Then we'd go home.

Rosie said...

hurrah, the new link works and an interesting article it is too.Thanks so much.

on the surveillance front, we still do it even after all these years...But please do tell more about the rival group on your patch. Is it guitars at dawn on the day of the fete de la musique?

We are participating at a Beatles boeuf on sunday...I may have to take the video because it could be entertainingly awful...

SA said...

Hey Congratulations Amy ,
missed the event in your blog, but anyway all the very best !
Also to note: If you get to a book store that has music books, etc., Check out the new Thurston Moore No Wave book when it comes out over there -
you will find a nice docu photo of yourself and Michael sitting somewhere
( maybe a backstage somewhere or Tier 3 ? ).
Now that No Wave book is not to be confused with the other er No Wave Book (Black Dog Pub.) which has everyone from around that scene, Live Skull,
Ike Yard, Swans.
It's a fun photo, not unlike some of those you had on your cover .
Have a great one

Best
Stuart in NYC