Saturday, June 10, 2017

In pyjamas in the corridor

It was around eleven p.m. when my mobile phone rang. It was Jee Eun Kim who urgently needed my help.
-          Take a taxi immediately. Once on your way call me back so that I can give you the correct address, Jee Eun Kim said.
-          Look, Madam, I am sorry but I don’t have any cash to take a taxi and I can’t use my credit card either. I’m below my balance, I objected.
-          Well, then I’ll send you the car, she said.
Twenty minutes later I was sitting in the Jaguar. The driver was listening to some Sri Lankan music and sang along now and then while driving. He was seemingly used to takeing the car out of the garage in the middle of the night every time Jee Eun Kim called. We were heading to rue du Bac where Jee Eun Kim’s young nephew had moved from South Korea two days ago. I was already used to my boss’s young relatives, all from rich families, who stayed regularly in Paris and needed all kinds of practical help. They seldom spoke any other language than Korean and were all on their way to be movie stars or fashion designers. All alone in Paris without family support, they became vulnerable and easy targets for crooks and pickpockets. This one was called Jo Soon Sook and he was in Paris in order to study at some expensive international university where you don’t need any French or even English skills, and of which the diplomas won’t give way to any serious job in France but are exotic souvenirs once back at home.

   When we arrived at the chic property an adolescent looking young man in pajamas was arguing half in English half in Korean with a locksmith. To compensate the missing common language they gestured wildly towards the apartment’s locked door. The unscrupulous locksmith was requesting no less than several thousand euros for unlocking the door with his bump key. It is a common habit in this industry to take advantage of a panicked foreigner’s delicate situation. However, it is illegal and can be reported. I got involved and finally managed, by threatening the locksmith, to bargain the price down to five hundred euros. I was curious to learn how the young man ended up in pajamas in the corridor. He explained something confusing about bad dreams. To make sure he wouldn’t do anything stupid, I accompanied him into the apartment. Whereas most foreign students live in a seven square meters rat hole on the sixth floor with no lift, this fils à papa had not less than two hundred square meters for himself only! And all the space was nicely decorated.

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