This week of work is off to a good start. I’ve finished my weekend shifts, and all has gone well. Everyone was nice to me, and I even managed to make a few jokes with the clients. Also, Alice est Malade. Ha. Delighted I am. I couldn’t even conceal my delight enough to sound sympathetic when the boss told me, and launched into an ill-advised and probably incomprehensible rant about the origins of the word ‘marmalade’. (I think “Alice est Malade” reminded me of the phrase “Marie Malade”, which apparently led to the coining of the word. Apparently has something to do with Marie Antoinette). Honestly if I manage to make any French friends here it will be an utter miracle, with anecdotes like that.
Karim and I are getting on well though, and he has upped the level of self disclosure. The latest has me speechless. Apparently, not only did he have a fiancée in the past, but he has also been MARRIED. Not even to the same fiancée!! He was married at 19 to a French girl. It lasted a year and they are now Divorced. He’s 24!!! A colourful character indeed. He’s much aggrieved at the moment though, as a result of the events of last night. (The recounting of which was what led to the previous confessions in fact.) I was in bed after work, and heard him returning home with a girl. One of the copines, I assumed, but oddly, and to my great relief, I heard very little else. However, when I got up in the morning, I noticed a big heap of clothes and a pair of hiking boots in the sitting room. What was going on exactly? Lo and behold, a Spanish girl emerged from Karim’s room, with Karim in hot pursuit, and he was soon escorting her back to the train station. It turned out he had met her there the night before, when he had a rendezvous with someone to sell some Playstation controls (long story -not worth going into details but we spend long hours comparing originals to copies, and debating the advantages of colours and lighting). While there, he encountered this girl who asked to use his phone to contact her friend, as there was some problem with her SIM card. The friend was uncontactable and the girl was about to be without a roof over her head for the night, which Karim could not stand over. So he invited her home. Now admittedly, not all of his intentions were that honourable, and he also hoped to profit from the situation. Further conversation with this girl revealed that she was travelling alone through Europe with very little money, and had been bunking in with strangers as she went. She explained to him that she often slept with these people -didn’t matter if they were old or strange or anything, she just did. However, she refused to sleep with Karim, and he is Baffled. She told him if he tried anything that she would bite him (I am not sure what percentage of this was a joke) and he spent the night keeping strictly to his side of the bed, in fear of getting rabies. So he hasn’t slept well and keeps repeating, “Mais pourquoi pas moi???” (“But why not meeee??”) She slept with everyone else like! He can’t understand it and has concluded that the next damsel in distress will be left unceremoniously at the train station.