Halley Knigge (Griffin)

Write. Share. Communicate.


Another day, another drama in my building. The last big shocker was the late-night graffiti vandal who surprised us all Friday morning. The latest comes in the form of a series of neighbor-to-neighbor notes left posted in the middle of our mailboxes.

Most university students in Paris right now are finishing up their examens finals and celebrating like there’s no tomorrow. In the spirit of completing their first-year exams, two roommates who live in the poor half of my building decided to throw a little party for their friends and classmates last Saturday night. As is typical in an apartment building, the girls wrote a note to all the neighbors explaining that they’d be having a party that evening, inviting anyone who was interested and apologizing in advance for the noise and bother.

As parties often tend to, this one grew and grew, spilling out of the roommates’ first-floor apartment and into the building’s courtyard and out onto rue Monsigny. Rachael, Conner, Anna and I had spent the night dancing to Hava Nagila at Chez Georges, so C and I were smoky, sweaty and exhausted by the time we’d dragged ourselves back to my building’s front door.

Just as I lifted my hand to punch in the code, the door flew open and three girls ran out, laughing and waving cigarettes. As we entered the courtyard we found maybe 20 young people milling around, smoking, drinking and generally quite enjoying themselves. C and I were waved over to join the group, but we were aching for a place to lay down, so we just waved back and went upstairs to sleep. My apartment’s windows face the courtyard on the other side of the building, so that was the last we heard of the party – until we went to do laundry Sunday morning.

Apparently not everyone in the building was quite so unconcerned by the party as C and I were, because taped to the front of the mailboxes on top of the original note was a page-long letter addressed Chères P et G. The note started out being fairly cordial, but quickly turned a bit sour.

Translated from French:
Chères P et G, congratulations for passing your exams.

This merits a party a bit long and rambunctious, but on the other hand, for your future times of rejoicing if you would stay in your own apartment to vomit, break glass, throw out your cigarette butts, perform realistic imitations of a pig having its throat slit open, and pass out on the ground, we would be much obliged.

If this night had actually been the intimate gathering of friends you told us it would be, perhaps you would have had the courtesy to clean the common areas, at least to show some bit of respect for our building and cleaning man.

We hope you understand that we were shocked to be forced to write this letter, but we will stand firm.

F and A

I did find it rather inconsiderate that the fêtards chose to party in the courtyard, considering that ours is a building of wealthy families who like to keep a serene environment, and many apartments’ windows open onto the courtyard, but the note was a little over the top. The couple who posted it knew exactly whose party it had been, and it would have been just as easy for them to leave the note in the girls’ mailbox, rather than show it off to the entire building, but I think I’m the only one who felt that way.

The rest of the neighbors, in our building’s rather dramatic way, were quite pleased with the note. I passed more than one person nodding and tsking while reading the note, and the few I talked to were all satisfied. They kept me awake until 3h with their screaming! and As a woman alone, I was scared to ask them to keep it down – who knows what they would have done. Now really, two scholarly girls and their university-going friends are not going to harm a neighbor who asks them to quiet down – but no one in this building ever passes up an opportunity to stir up more drama.

Author: Halley (Griffin) Knigge

Storyteller and adventurer with a focus on new and social media. Ten years of award-winning writing and editing experience, eight years working professionally to share compelling stories through brand journalism, three years as an airline spokesperson, two years as a Tacoma Arts Commissioner and 30+ years of learning something new every day.

3 thoughts on “

  1. See, this is typically a social (and prolly political) gap, in my opinion… As if people living in quite rich Parisian apartments had never been young… maybe they’ve never been, actually! Whoo, that freaks me out.

  2. mjqsczpI love the letter! Of course we all need to lighten up a bit but the letter was an excellent example of “public shaming”I think I mentioned this before but I enjoy your blog a great deal- any chance you will continue it after you leave Paris? I’m moving ot Paris in 2 months and have used your posts to educate myself- thanks!

  3. I know!!! I don’t understand why they couldn’t have just politely gone downstairs and asked the partiers to quiet down. The girls are reasonable people, if they’d been told to shush they would have done it!!!And yeah, I’ll keep the blog up for a while…but I don’t know how long. I just get the feeling that people are a bit more drawn to reading about the adventures of Tacoma girls in Paris than Tacoma girls in Seattle…

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