Archive for March, 2010

Le bruit et surtout les odeurs

March 23, 2010

Below Mr. Chirac talks in 1991 about how foreigners defraud the government and make honest French folk miserable with their noise and odors. Well, I’ve got news for you, it’s those good ol’ white French folk who have made my life miserable for a good part of the 10 years that I’ve been here. In particular their panoply of offensive odors, be they from perfumes, cleaning products, laundry detergents, scented candles, cigarettes, burned food, gasoline, paints, solvents, leaking home heating fuel tanks, and of course the ever present burning of garden waste and/or uncured wood, and the occasional tires or even complete car. Bref c’est les français de souche, dans mon expérience, qui générent des odeurs insupportables, à devenir fou.

Foreigners at least cook things that smell good. With spices and the like, not just salt and fat. And I think many try to avoid the heavy perfumed products, but unfortunately there isn’t much choice in the matter (Supermarkets in France do not offer a single unfragranced laundry detergent; you can only find them in Organic stores.)


New building, same outrageousness

March 23, 2010

Horrid stale tobacco combined with bizarre cleaning product smells wafting up from downstairs neighbors this week, through the windows, and today could barely exit my apartment because my same-level neighbor’s turbo-fragranced laundry detergent (at least I believe that to be the source) passes through her front door to contaminate the closed, unventilated landing that leads to stairs and elevator doors. At first I believed the smell to come from the floor cleaning products used by the cleaning people, but I’ve come to realize that it comes instead from my neighbor’s flat. Amazing. How can anyone possibly survive breathing that stuff full force day in, day out without developping acute asthma? Kudos to their immune system! As for the purely aesthetic aspect, I gather they have zero sense of smell, because their oven smokes out MY kitchen every time they use it, and occassionally they cook this god awful rotten meat, just putrid smelling stuff, unimaginably putrid. (I’m trying to seal off my kitchen from theirs to avoid having to deal with these odors–but the landing laundry fragrance problem, no way of escaping that).

Oh, by the way, these are very white French people. In fact almost all of the smell and odor problems in France that I’ve had over the years are with white French, “de souche” as they like to say here. Why do I mention this fact? Well, see my next post please!