CRIME AND COVER-UP: Diary of a Marked Woman
Tues. the 11th: The allowance transfer got my bank account in the black by exactly 59 euros. That's quite a sum for the whole month! Still didn't feel like going to the 13th District city hall to the appointment for the "Exceptional Allowance" interview. Didn't feel like telling my sob story to anyone, show some aargh aargh justificatifs to a civil servant I was supposed to convince of the well-foundedness of my claim of plight. And what if she thought I was nuts and called the guys in white coats to take me away? And anyway since it was that antisocial worker Sylvie Hervieux who told me to go there and since it was she who got me into the bad-checks gig because she promised me two months and I got only one, since, as I was saying, the idea came from this despicable biped, it was hard to believe that it was for my own good. That's the idea I got when I woke up in the middle of the night Sunday to Monday. "Not for my own good."
Yes, you go there with a hard-luck story expecting this kind-hearted City of Paris to come to your rescue with some ready cash (yes, and Santa is coming on Dec. 24th) and, lo and behold, when you come out of there you're unrecognizable! You're just a bunch of cans of dog food. Oh, don't ask me. That's just the vision I had in the middle of the night.
So on Mon. the 10th I stayed home and did some sewing and around 10:30 AM a road crew started doing some noise on the pedestrian crossing across the street. There was a jack hammer and a pavement-slicing circular saw whining loudly, and I JUST KNEW they were there at my mother's request to express her displeasure at my failure to show up for my execution. I looked thru the new tree foliage and saw some smoke when the guy cut thru the pavement; there was a van and a few cones to keep traffic away, and half an hour later, no more noise, the entire crew had vanished. What did I say? They had no real business here, weren't doing any work. They had just been told by their chief to go there, do a little jack-hammering, a little circular sawing for thirty minutes and leave.
So from my window seat, while drawing the needle and thread thru fabric I spoke like little girls do when they are building their self-esteem and trying to impress their schoolmates: "Eh ben moi, ma maman elle connait un monsieur, il a un gros chien qui mord.... et puis elle connait un monsieur qui conduit un camion vert (Paris sanitation truck), et un monsieur, il a une grosse, grosse... comment ça s'appelle? ... une très, très grosse serpillière (referring to the guy who had threatened me in the restaurant. A "serpillière" is a special floor cleaning rag). The idea was, I was trying to ridicule my mother who has upper class pretentions by showing all the low class people she deals with.
Last week the people in charge at the two librairies I go to (bd V. Auriol and rue Tolbiac) told me there is a maximum internet use of two half-hours per wek per person. I thought this was very little internet time so I asked to see where it was written. I read the entire "règlement" but no mention was made of internet time, still the "conservateur" at Melville (Tolbiac), a woman, confirmed that it was the policy to allow no more than 2 1/2 hrs/week/person. At Auriol I asked to see where it was written because a law that isn't written and published isn't enforceable. The employee, a stout man with reddish hair and beard leafed thru a thick pile of papers in his diary and finally showed me a sheet where it was written. "But this isn't official!" I exclaimed. The "rule" was written on blank paper with no date, no signature, and to the left of the computer station where the rules were displayed, no mention was made of a maximum, so I ignored the fake rule and registered for two more sessions.
On Wed. the 19th there was about four or five under-ten girls at the computer when I showed up at 3PM for my session. The screen was showing something very, very dark in black and white and it was not from the internet. I told them firmly that I had signed up for 3PM and they left and took their chairs with them. When my time was up I asked the attendant, a limp-wristed man in his fifties, how come under-ten children were allowed in the adult section. He said that as long as they have their parents'permission it's ok, and that the only VCR in the place is in the adult section and kids have a right to it. Then he turned to a tiny girl and dealt with her about some video. When I checked a book out I asked the librarian to give me a form for children and took it home. I read there that only children older than twelve are allowed in the adult section because they may borrow adult (but of course this doens't mean "porno") material. This doesn't surprise me as one of my mother's favorite put-downs is to show me that everybody is more important than me and I have to defer to everybody, even little kids. Anyway I have the proof since last year that the libraries are mom's allies because when I was late returning books I wasn't fined, which alerted me to the fact that I have a special status there.
Lately every time I go to the library (Italie ou Melville) I hear about "making a check to the Public Treasury (meaning the IRS). Why do I hear so much about that? It doesn't make sense yet I've heard (at Italie) a woman who acted like she was brain-damaged say that she didn't have the right to write checks (just around the time I got those nasty letters from my bank) and the librarian told her what to do and the money went to the Public Treasury. And two or three more times in one of those two libraries I heard about making a check to the Public Treasury "because the libraries are funded by the Public Treasury". Oh, I thought they were funded by the Ville de Paris because that's what they are called: Bibliothèque de la Ville de Paris. If mom is trying to make me feel bad about not paying income tax, may I remind her that SHE is the one who made me a RMI recipient, and that all RMIsts are tax-exempt?
Another library story: the same day I asked a woman to write me down for some other day in the week. Thyr. was a holiday (Ascension) so it would be either Fri or Sat. She said Fri was all taken but there was a spot on Sat. I said "Oh, but I'm already written up for Sat.!" and later >I realized that the woman may have been trying to make me commit a "library offence" that would have given them grounds to exclude me from internet access! Once again I was saved by my honesty.
Another library story: Almost immediately after I started going to the library for internet access, the whole section of rue Nationale I use to ride to the Melville library (between rue Regnault and rue de Tolbiac) became obstructed by construction work. And then while I rode up at a jolly speed a car came out of parking some distance away. I calculated that it had time enough to merge into traffic without my having to slow down so I kept at the same speed, but instead of maneuvering fast the vicious f***ing driver remained motionless in the middle of the street barring the way, which forced me to slow down almost to a stop. And then, to reach the library at the corner of Nationale and Tolbiac, there is an awkward little walkway bordered by waist-high grey-and-green construction fences which make it harder for me to get to the library and park my bike so now I take another way.
And then, on the other side of the library, there is another construction site, roughly 20 feet square. I looked to see what it was about and all I saw was a kind of grill on the pavement that has new cement about it, so it looks like something has been done. But why the 20 feet square? And now, nobody's working on it anymore, it's just a space that is "denied" (in military terms) the public, and that creates a screen, so that the space in front of the library is isolated from view on two sides: the construction on rue Nationale right of the library, the no-longer active construction site left of the library, in front there is parking space for two-wheelers and the Tolbiac street, and on the fourth side is the library itself, with its wide bay windows, that NOBODY looks out of, because people look at the printed library material under their eyes. What I'm driving at is that the two construction sites right and left of the library at the Tolbiac-Nationale corner provide a screen so that nobody would be able to witness what happened on the small area in front of the library even in broad daylight. I've read from the "Tetrahedron" website (I think) that a perfect cover for a covert op is to do it in broad daylight but to make sure that nobody sees anything, and since this has already been done to me on May 23 1990 -in front of YET ANOTHER LIBRARY for chrissake- I'm weary of this construction business. It doesn't look to me like the workers are doing any serious work. It's easy to watch from the library's second or third floor whether they're working or not!
On Fri. the 21st there was a 2001 cardboard desk calendar on the sidewalk near the spot where I usually park my bike. When I came out of the Melville library a few hours later there was a tall bum standing by the subway entrance with a cube-shaped orange container resting near him on top of the railing and some liquid dripping from his hands. (I think the cube-shaped container is a shower-gel by the Tahiti brand.) When I reached my bike what looked like the overturned calendar was lying on the roadway near my bike. It was a map of France that had the same dimensions as the calendar I had seen earlier, that's why I assumed -without absolute proof- that it was the overturned calendar. When I parked my bike near my home a few minutes later there was a motorbike on the sidewalk near my usual parking spot and a young man astride it, and a young woman, with long reddish hair, standing near. None of them was moving and both their faces were hidden by helmets. I didn't "pay it no mind" until the next day when I wondered whether all these little incidents that appeared random and disconnected were not in fact part of a whole, the whole being a threat to my security.
Today the Washington Post published pictures and a video clip of torture and abuse by American soldiers of Iraki prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. In case anybody was harboring the illusion that women are of the "fair sex" or any such gibberish, I hope now they got rid of their illusions, as women turned bad are, in my knowledgeable opinion, ten thousand times worse than men. Wasn'it it Kipling who said that "The female of the species is deadlier than the male," and P. J. Wodehouse who said "The f. of the s. is deadlier..."?
Fri the 28th: This morning I called my bank. A man named Eric Desbois took my call. First I told him I had spent twenty years in the US and didn't know anything about the RMI when I came back and that I was advised to claim it so I did, and now, about two years later, I wazs able to say that RMIsts are treated like retards, and that there are laws to protect retarded people from abuse but that RMIsts were abused as if they were abused retards. "So what is the matter you're calling about today, the overdraft permission? He asked after getting my acct number. "Yes," I said, and I asked him to make available to me immediately the 126 euro the bank took from my account as penalty for the 4 bad checks, on the ground that by law the RMI allowance cannot be legally seized. He argued that it was not a "seizure" legally speaking, and that the "unseizability" of the RMI applied only to liens. I argued that the "M" in RMI means "minimum", which means that it is not possible to survive with less than the RMI so the spirit of the law was that this money shouldn't be taken under any circumstances. He said that if the penalty couldn't be taken from the bank acct of RMIsts it would never be possible to collect it. I said that they could take it from people who had a job and a salary. But of course, upon relfexion, these people don't write bad checks! It's only poor people who do so, when they have no other way to put food on the table. They don't do it to defraud, they do it out of hunger, yet they are penalized just for being poor in fact, and the banks make it worse.) He was unsure after some discussion of the validity of his legal standpoint. He suggested I write to the legal department but I said I needed the money today and since there was some doubt he should give me the benefit of the doubt as 126 euros means more to me than to the bank. (But imagine the banks doing this to hundreds of thousands of people! Compare it to the tiny sums the other usual bank fees generate! This bad check penalty is a gold mine for the banks!) I told him the bank is in violation of several articles of the Code de la Consommation regarding the information of consumers prior to the signing of the service contract. He put me on hold three times, I guess he was asking for advice from co-workers as to how to answer me. Meanwhile I was hearing a recorded message in an incredibly cheerful female voice that was trying to sell me an insurance in the event of some "catastrophic event that could happen to me personally or to my loved ones". I heard it at least five times when he put me on hold the first time, and then two or three more times. The pie-in-the-sky insurance has a name ending in "ys". Funny how so many financial products at La Poste end in "ys". Some enlightened marketing consultant specializing in naming products must have told the bigwigs at La Poste that the "ys" ending is a big seller, unless it was a specialist in Numerology! So from now on I'll call the bank "La Pys" (eh eh, sounds like "piss") instead of La Poste.
When he came back the guy told me I must have received a registered letter informing me that I was "Interdit Bancaire" which sounds vely vely bad, and that as such I could no longer benefit from the 500 euros overdraft courtesy. In other words I cannot borrow money to repay the stores I owe money to, it'll have to come out of my RMI... I'm being punished in every way they could think of as if I were a despicable swindler and they are denying the opportunity to defend myself, the bastards. I said I had not received the registered letter he was speaking of. I'll make it short because I only have 45mns to write this but I talked to another woman, explained to her for the 2nd time that I had written the bad checks because I had believed some false statements by a social worker that I would receive two months worth of allowance, and now I was being penalized twice because not only did the bank take one third of my allowance as penalty for the bad checks, but on top of that the bank would not allow me any overdraft privilege until I repaid the two stores who had my checks. I disputed the legality of this practice as the bank is not a collection agency and even if the stores got a judgment against me they wouldn't be able to collect because the RMI cannot be seized so where did the bank come from trying to force me to repay the stores? Who is their client? Me or the stores? So why are they acting like Mafia extortionist enforcers? I told the woman I had only 59 euros for the period May 5 to June 5 and was now totally broke and hungry. She said that she was only applying the rules and regulations. I said that she belonged to an inhumane machine and was hiding behind the rules to starve me, that it wouldn't cost the bank anything to grant me the ability to withdraw 126 euros while to me it meant the difference between being hungry and not being hungry. I said I was hungry, that saying hunger was a Third World problem was bullshit because even here in holier-than-thou France people were starving and she couldn't say she didn't know because she was partly responsible for it and I was putting her on notice that she was responsible for my being hungry. My voice wwas starting to break and I was beginning to cry so I stopped talking. There was a silence while I waited for her to say something. Finally I said "Hello? Are you there?" there was more silence, then she said that she was there, that she didn't have all day to listen to me so I asked her to transfer me to her supervisor.
I could tell from her cheerful tone that Mrs Quefellec was all smiles when she took my call. She was applying the rules of "Salesmanship 101" even though there was nothing remotely funny in the situation. I told her that I was being penalized as if I had had the intent to defraud when the only reason I wrote the bad checks was that I had relied on some misrepresentation by one of the RMI women. I told her that she and her co-workers were all hiding behind the "we're only applying the law" copout, but that they had violated the law from the beginning, the Code de la Consommation that protects consumers from swindlers.
"Your company used deceptive practices to induce me into signing a service contract with you because your officer was required by law to inform me of the costs of your services and he didn't."
"But we have a brochure where these costs are all written down."
"Yes but your officer didn't give it to me. The amount of the bad checks I wrote shows that I didn't know it costs at least 28 euros to write a bad checks because I bought merchandise in the amount of 16 and 21 euros. If I had known, I would have bought more merchandise at one time and written less checks. Besides these were checks to a supermarket where I had bought food. You see these were not frivolous purchases, this was food I was buying, because the RMI woman had just told me that my contract had been approved and that I would receive two months allowance. I thought the money would be credited to my account before the store put the check in the bank."
"So go see the woman and straighten it out with her."
"You're all big institutions and bureaucracies. Do you think I'm in the mood to start a complaint when I don't have enough to eat? What I need is money now, not in two or three years."
"Your problem is not a banking problem," she said disingenuously in her bright, cheerful voice, as if I was a mental case. "It's a social worker you need to see, not a banker."
"A social worker!" I exclaimed, "But it's a social worker who put me in this mess in the first place, so it's out of the question that I ask another social worker to help me.
Apparently she was suggesting that I go to the Mayor's Office claim an Exceptional Allowance on the grounds of hardship. Yes but since I know that it's what all these females from hell want me to do and since I've had a warning from my intelligence division (a.k.a "bullshit detector") that it's dangerous to go there, I won't go.
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