Mr. Metro Accoster

In light of my recent desperate hunt for an apartment in Paris, I thought that it would be appropriate to share the following story, which occurred shortly after I moved into my last apartment.  At the end, you’ll see why this story is so fitting, trust me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was an early Saturday morning, and I was about to get on the metro to see off a friend before she left the country.  I’ll sketch out the scene for you in bullet point form:

  • This felt like the butt-crack of dawn, and I am NOT a morning person.  Anyone who has ever met me knows that I try to minimize human interaction before noon.
  • I was not dressed to prowl: fat-day/PMS jeans, Converse sneakers, nondescript t-shirt.
  • I was on the phone with my sister in California; with the nine hour time difference, this was the only time that we could talk.
  • In other words, I was in no mood and in no position to be conversing with strangers on the metro.  And I’d like to think that this was clear to bystanders at the time.

So of course, this meant that an older, fifty-ish man decided to get all up in my business and attempt to chat me up while I was in the middle of a phone conversation.

And he persisted.  He had no respect for the fact that I was otherwise engaged in conversation; he continuously interjected and pestered me for my contact info until I was so irritated that I just gave him my email in order to stop the insanity.

Yes, it was my real email address.

I know.

I’m an idiot.

But in my defense, I was flustered, and my brain doesn’t function normally in the morning.

And anyway, if I hadn’t given him my email address, I never would have received this gem of an email, which I reproduce here in its entirety, word for word (except for removing his personal information):

Hello “there” ( here I must interject in order to apologise- in default of your forename),

Now that’s a fairly long introduction. My name’s —-. English speaking people usually end up calling me —-.

I’m not at all in the habit of accosting young maidens in the metro, or any other ilk either. However I did overhear fragments of your conversation with your sister (?) I believe. Not an eavesdropper by nature, however I couldn’t help picking up a detail you repeatedly mentionned- that of clarity in speech ( because even the wriiten word is referred to as speech I believe). You ennounce and pronounce so beautifully that I was very rapidly under an rather binding spell. I think that clarity of speech denotes clarity of thought.

This in itself is a golden quality, and is becoming a rarity nowadays.

It was almost ironic that I happened to be heading to a writers’ workshop last Saturday when my ears “alighted” upon your speech ; when I heard you speak. So California is your home? Welcome to Paris.

You see, if one is not part of an English-speaking community in Paris, one loses touch with the language. Hence it would be a pleasure to get together over a cup of cofee, glass of wine, jug of beer, slurp of Champagne, or countless other pretences to have a good old chin wag if you feel so inclnined. No strings attached. It’s just nice to meet a lively soul- something I rapidly gathered that you were.

Here are my “credentials” :

– name –

– mailing address –

– land line number –

– mobile number –

Hoping to hear from you soon.

I think that the email speaks for itself, so I will offer no additional commentary.   At the time, I was speechless.  I laughed so hard that I nearly injured myself.

And I continued laughing until I showed the email to my flatmate.

When she read it through, she recognized the name at the bottom of the message and gave me a piece of information that surely took off a few years of my life:

Mr. Metro Accoster was, in fact, OUR LANDLORD.

And that had my flatmate laughing for DAYS.

Meanwhile, I was left scratching my head and wondering how this stuff happens to me.

And now, thankfully, I am moving.

And this “young maiden” will be saving her “rather binding spell” for a more appropriate target.  A handsome target, hopefully.  And not someone to whom I pay rent.

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “Mr. Metro Accoster

  1. his use of quotes, and commas, is, quite simply, “awesome”.

  2. Is it troubling that I actually found his email rather nice? The ‘a handsome target’ makes me think that he was a troll though. Him being your landlord though makes me wonder if he was stalking you.

    • Have I become so jaded that I don’t recognize nice emails anymore? Definitely a distinct possibility.

      Maybe the email would have seemed nicer to me if it had come from somebody else — someone who was under fifty and didn’t annoy me from the get-go?

      I never met my landlord before that ill-fated metro ride, but I really hope that I was never stalked after that!

  3. Bet it was fun every time you had to hand him a rent check.

    I hate the whole “try to pick up the girl while she is clearly talking on the phone” thing. Once, I was talking to my mom on the phone and some shirtless shoeless toothless person decided to run his best game. “Hey baby. Lem’ getcho numbuh.” That’s my best approximation of how we talk around here. Anyway, I told him I didn’t have a phone. While talking on the phone. Thinking he would go away. But he missed my point and proceeded to explain to me that I was talking on the phone.

    He still didn’t get my number, though.

    • I avoided all landlord contact after that. It took some inconvenient acrobatics, let me tell you. My flatmates got a kick out of it.

      I laughed aloud when I read “Lem’ getcho numbuh.” Shirtless, shoeless, and toothless. What a gem.

  4. No way!

    Your landlord!

    Ha- too funny!

    Caleb

    PS sometimes girls look their cutest when they think they look their worst.

    • There seems to be some male-female disconnect about this question of cuteness.

      When I think that I look pretty good, someone says to me, “Wow, you don’t look so good. Are you hungover?” When I think I look like a train wreck, I have to beat off men with a stick. Granted, they’re mostly homeless, but they are men nonetheless.

  5. Riiiight.

    For a dude who’s not an eavesdropper he sure gleaned a lot – that you were: 1) talking to your sister, 2) discussing clarity of speech, and 3) from California – from your conversation.

    I too lament the fact that both clarity of speech and thought are becoming rarities nowadays. I only wish we could say the same for impolite, nosey and pushy creeps.

  6. That’s hilarious. You gave him your email address, for one. His formal manner of speech, for two. Then he turned out to be your landlord, for three. Who knew contact info were credentials??

  7. That’s hilarious–and for him to be none of those things, approach young maidens and eavesdropping– he sure did do a good job! Oy!

  8. Hahahahha! How awful and great at the same time. Awful experience, but great story for years to come!

    Lifebeginsat30ty’s comment that it was a nice e-mail made me think… if the guy was a superhot hottie the e-mail might be regarded as cute. But he was supernot-hot landlordy guy, so said e-mail was creepy and pathetic. But then again, I sometimes overlook the bad behavior of superhot hotties, coz I’m stupid that way.

    • It’s an evolutionary advantage, to be a hottie. We shouldn’t be ashamed that we indulge our natural survival instincts.

      You know, if more people thought like you, ugliness should soon be eliminated from the human gene pool, right?

      Saying that is karmically going to kick my ass later, I know it.

  9. Alex

    Here I was worrying that house hunting was keeping you away from your adventures. I think vie commented on your elocution in the past, too. If only I could have been as slick as the guy who’s responsible for making sure your lights work and your toilet flushes.

  10. OMG, this “young maiden” just laughed out loud at her desk…

    Your landlord’s vocabulary & use of punctuation is amazing (oh, sorry – I mean “amazing”). Some of my faves: “jug of beer”, “slurp of champagne”, “chin wag”. I can totally picture him speaking French with a hint of a faux English accent…which probably explains why he was so impressed with your “clarity of speech”.

  11. “Accosting young maidens,” “clarity of speech,” and “when my ears “alighted” upon your speech” – all of it – pure gold.

  12. CapOuPasCap

    I just can’t stop laughing!!! It’s unbelievable something like that did happen for real. *rolf*

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