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Unquotable quotes: The Janitor, Gardienne, Landlady, Housekeeper, Portero, the Sereno and the Hausgast – XXXI Part One
Be they so named or not in these here parts, visions of shrieking furies with Gorgon heads and frightful temple-guardian Dvarapalas and Gothic Frankensteins with blood-dripping fangs and gnarled claws loom into view at the very thought of these gentle folk.
This class of saintly women cannot but live off the mass of urban populations under the pretext of serving the latter as their hand-and-foot maidens. Gare à vous!
The C.S. (Conseil syndical), the all-powerful co-proprietors council which decides what is to be done with the monies they require residents to pay for the so-called upkeep of the place under their control. The CS - mainly composed of women: housewives, spinsters, widows and old maids, with one or two crusty men thrown in for good measure - is supposed to be elected by the entire number of co-proprietors at the annual general assembly, but, in actual fact, the inscrutable ways of democracy being such the ring leaders canvass and obtain by proxy the majority of votes to do whatever it pleases them.
The Syndic administers the accounts of the co-property: collection of provisions, payment for services rendered by plumbers, electricians, lift and intercom maintenance technicians, insecticide sprayers, including the payment of the whopping salary to the gardienne (and her otherwise employed husband), and of course the famous organization of the General Assembly when decisions taken by the CS are put to the vote for the succeeding year’s expenditures. The president of the CS also maintains a common account from which (s)he pays for certain emergency services, the sums of which (s)he recovers from the Syndic, however.
Now, the rub is this: the Syndic receives payment for his services; the gardienne is paid a regular salary, but the CS, nothing. Their services are considered to be offered in an altruistic spirit for the betterment of the co-proprietors, but is this the case? Th at’s for you to decide. It is however a convention among all the residents that they may help themselves as and when they please to whatever appears appropriate in the circumstances and here much developed forms of imaginative speculation is required to guess at what they can do to pay themselves for what may be considered “work” whether foul or not.
The gardienne has the quintessential role in this set-up. She knows the ropes, for her kind on a national level have managed all exigencies and are worldly-wise about how to keep the money flowing. She informs and directs the hand of the president of the CS who then allows her a sizeable cut of the purse. For this purpose, a whole array of service providers who are willing to cooperate are called upon to serve them. And the coproprietors don’t much bother about who benefits from what, so long as the job gets done, and they are not put out - much too much - of their pockets. Their least of all concerns is the legality of the situation. In this thieves paradise, the insurance companies’ employees too willingly play the game by shutting a conniving eye to misdeeds.
Little wonder then that in Napoleonic territory, the chief players in this particular form of laissez-faire hail inevitably from the Mediterranean countries. Only such a state of affairs could have provoked the greatest wit in these parts to comment: “…wherever you go in France, you will find that the(ir) three chief occupations are making love, backbiting, and talking nonsense.” Cf Candide by Voltaire.)
The Terror at the Door
There she blows the tough lump twitching rude bums
Riding on the mop stick between wily witchy thighs
Nasty tongue lolling with itchy gossipy gums
Messy breasts soured by curdled milk‘s retchy sighs
Mean glutton button eyes on the lookout for victims
Those without rich connections the lone occupants
On whom she unleashes her venom her whims
The hushed neighbourhood numbed by wails by rants
Each morning the terror strikes at some bolted door
Some migrant woman in arrears rent husband on dole
Accusing the wretch of littering some space out of door
Summoning to witness the mighty indigene soul
Each night she’ll scorch indecent threats on paper:
“He who laid that lame cabinet down by the basement
I know by name – Before the day grows duller
I’ll have him arraigned by holy writ’s firmament!”
So she’ll whine and she’ll grind her victims to pulp
Till she’s got them all on the run tout azimut
While she fawns kiss-asses the rich who cuddle pup
At the buildings entrance where she sets up court
There to villify denigrate and condemn
Those who dared point a finger at what she got
To justify phantom expense free flat unearned gem
The terror at the door the lèche-cul lèche-bottes
This migrant terror who would not finish school
Sports a sinecure even Ph. Ds cannot earn
Add to that kickbacks from fake contracts drool
And payments from useless chores money to burn
Do Lords of the Manor tolerate terror at their door
Turn masochist key in keyhole of prison
What system of human rights permits such horror
A land that’s seedbed to such criminal poison
Everyone’s out to break the coded law at will
Who’s there to watch over other individuals’ rights
Can the system of Justice prevent wanton kill
When the vast majority abhor others’ written rights
When rulers and electors are left to their devices
All turn a deaf ear to open faults and crimes
The people show brazen courage in upholding vices
So long as those who suffer do not decry the times
© T. Wignesan – Paris, 2016
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