Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Dolly disrupts critical state matters.

There was a gendarme at the gate this afternoon, catching me with a shovel in hand and digging a man-sized hole.

He told me that he was there on an investigation, and that he had to enter the premises.

"Do you have a warrant?" I've learned from watching American films to say on these occasions, but I don't know the French word for "warrant," so all I could manage was a lame, "What investigation?"

"It concerns Monsieur Pierre Massebieau," he said, "and Madame Rosalinda Massebieau." Uh-oh, I thought, looking at the mud on my clothes, what did we do now?

No worries, no murder was committed. We just got married. Gendarme Pecheur (the fishing policeman, if you translate) was there to check that this wasn't un mariage blanc, a marriage contrived for one of the two parties to get citizenship papers.

"Oh," I said, finally getting it, "you just want to see if I actually live here with Pierre!"

So I started by showing him where he had interrupted me while I was digging to build a pond in the garden, and then I asked his advice about what plants grow best in our sunny, salty climes. Would you send me to prison if this were a fake marriage, out of curiosity I asked. Do you catch a lot of people at it? I continued. Do you like your job? I couldn't stop.

He finally managed to sit us down so that it was him who could ask the questions and fill out some papers, but by the time I was screeching, chasing our cat Dolly who had managed to trap a bird half its size and was dragging it all around the living room, I think he had no doubt in his mind where I lived.

Still, he tried to be thorough. He asked to see where I kept my clothes. You're going to see my bras, I warned him. Then he looked in the bathroom, to check that I had perfumes and lotions there. The obedient immigrant, I handed him my bottle of green tea lotion from L'Occitane, while with the other hand, I pushed a dirty panty further down the hamper.

If you ask me, I think Gendarme Pecheur, fishing for illegal immigrants, has a very unfortunate job.


decorator said...

oh my... may ganun!?!

Analyse said...

wow, i didn't know they do this here.. !

Leah said...

Cool, looks like you caught him off guard instead of the other way round.

apol said...

Yep, GWYN, the gendarme told me it happens often enough that they have to institute controls. Parang cottage industry yata dito eh, because the French citizen who marries the foreigner often gets paid.

ANA, Mr. Pecheur said where he was assigned before in the north, there were quite a lot they caught, but here, in the sleepy southern villages, it's not uso.

LEAH, actually, I did feel caught off guard. If I knew he was coming I would have cleaned the house! I felt so burara!

writerinresidence said...

What a great story. And by the way, I am glad you got lucky. Keep on rockin'... and rollin'...

Anonymous said...

This is so what I'm what looking forward to when the INS comes to my house sometime soon.