There are 10 apartments in the building in which I live, and two of us are at the back. Mine is on the ground floor, and the other is on the first floor above me. Since I moved in, I have heard people moving around, banging down the stairs, and trying to calm a screaming child. I could tell they were French, and I figured they had two young children.
As I was writing the other evening, I heard a commotion in the hall, and someone rang my doorbell. I opened the door to the mother and two girls.
"Do shou spake Eng-leesh?" the mother asked me.
"Si," I replied, although I have no idea why I answered in Italian.
"Our ay-lictric eez not own," she announced. Mine, she could see, was since I had turned on the foyer light when I answered the door.
"I'm sorry," I said, not really knowing what else to say. "Did you call Giovanni?"
"Zee nome-bare, she doe-zant verk. Ve needs zee power." She noticed the fuse box to my apartment inside the door. "Vare eez our box like zees?" How I was supposed to know, I have no clue. I shrugged my shoulders.
"Giovanni lives two doors up at the same door as the B&B," I told her. "Maybe just go there and ring his bell." I felt sorry for her, but I couldn't help.
As I was getting ready for bed about 10 minutes later, the bell sounded again. I opened the door to find that the father had joined the troupe.
"Zee nome-bare fair Giovanni doe-zant verk," he said to me. I really felt sorry for them, but to be perfectly blunt, I didn't know any more then than I knew 10 minutes earlier. "You zee?" The father held up his cell phone so I could hear someone say that the number wasn't working.
"Ok," I said. "Let me try to call him for you." I dialed the number and got, you guessed it, his voicemail. I left a message outlining the problem and asked him to call the Francesi when he could. "So, hopefully he will hear the message and call you," I said to the father. He talked to me for a few more minutes, but I have no idea what he said because it was probably nothing of consequence and, quite frankly, I was falling asleep on my feet by that time Sunday evening.
"Bon chance (Good luck)," I said as I closed the door.
About 20 minutes later, I was asleep.
"Viva, Las Vegas! Viva, Las Vegas!," my phone blared (ZZ Top = my ring tone). I probably bounced to the ceiling and back in panic when I heard it. I wasn't expecting a call, of course, and I was very much asleep.
"Krees, it's Giovanni," the male voice announced.
"Who?" In my sleep-fogged state, I was confused. (If you read the post about my arrival at the apartment, you'll understand the irony of my response.) Within a split second, I realized it was Giovanni. "Oh, you got my message."
"Yes. What is-a da problem?" He apparently got the message but either didn't listen to it or didn't understand it. I repeated what I had told him about the French family's electricity. "Again it-a happen. They turn on-a da washer, da air, and da microwave at-a da same-a time. It may work-a in Francia, but in-a Italia, it break-a da electric. The box is-a by the door-a."
Fast forward to last evening at roughly the same time. The bell screeched again, and again I found the mom and girls at my door.
"Sorry," the mom said. She pointed at the oldest daughter. "She mean to turn own zee light for zee stairz."
"It's okay," I replied. "Your electric is working okay today?"
"Yes, but zee hote wat-air eez oaf." Sensing, I think, that I was going to suggest she call Giovanni, she continued, "Ve call Giovanni, and he eez comb-ing soon, ve hope."
I hoped so, too.