I shook his hand and he introduced himself as Pierre, Pierre le plombier. Bonjour Pierre - and I let him inside the apartment.He began his work and then, as I stuffed my Gerblé breakfast biscuits in my mouth, Pierre le plombier asked the question that people always ask when they hear my accent: Vous êtes d'où? (where are you from?)
"Je suis Américaine." He looked at me like he needed more information, so I continued, "Je suis née en Californie et ça fait 7 ans maintenant que je suis en France." (I was born in California and I've been in France for 7 years). Well, messieurs-dames, that was all it took for Pierre le plombier to start his (what I think must be daily) session of over-sharing:
Oh moi je suis de Bourgogne - vous connaissez? (I'm from Burgundy, do you know it?) Je viens en train tous les jours - il faut 1 heure, mais après j'ai que du boulot à Paris (I come by train everyday, it takes about an hour. But once I'm in Paris - nothing but work!) In Bourgogne I live in a huge apartment and pay only 535 Euros a month including gas, water AND electricity. I barely even see my neighbors, that's how calm and relaxing it is. I'm divorced, so I work on the weekends which pays for my vacations. Yesterday I worked 11 hours! I don't count my hours like most French people - nope, not me!
(I nod and crunch in approval - wow, a Frenchie who doesn't count his hours...)
Yeah, in Paris work is non-stop. I have clients from all over - even in the 16th - nothing but rich people. Just because they're rich doesn't mean they give good tips though.
(I write myself a mental note not to tip Pierre le plombier purely on principal.)
I have another American client who's a psychologist. She keeps telling me that my talents would be appreciated in the United States and that I should go work there. But my English isn't very good - I mean, I can get by, but technical plumbing words would be difficult. Really though, I used to work in the military and my work ethic is unbeatable. Plus, I can do pretty much anything and I charge less than everyone else. A job for 4000 - I say 2000. I'm able to make beaucoup d'argent that way. When I meet someone, I'll buy a big house and re-do everything myself! Just give me a roof and four walls! The problem is that I work so much that I don't have time to go out - so basically all that's left is the internet.
(At this point in the conversation, I started to get worried - what exactly did he mean by "internet"???)
Right now I'm on Meetic, (oh phew!) but really, all those women want are one-night stands. They say it's the guys who aren't looking for something serious, but I think it's the women.
I continue to nod in sympathy, then added something about having friends who met life partners on Meetic blah blah blah...
Oh la la! This siphon is shot! Finally, Pierre le plombier brought it back to the task at hand. He was missing a piece and would have to go back to the shop and come back later to complete the repair.
Old-school siphon from a Parisian apartment
"Well, when do you think I should meet you back here," I asked.
"Oh, no later than 2pm - I always finish my work days at 4:30pm," he answered. (hmm, a Frenchie who counts his hours...)
"Here, let me give me you my personal numéro de portable, just in case." "It's Pierre. Pierre le plombier."