"Quoi? L'électricien est venu?" I started, just about to add And you didn't tell me? He read my thoughts. I'll bet it wasn't hard.
"Non, non. Il est passé dans sa camionette. Devant la maison. Je l'ai vu." Oh. He merely drove by the house this morning. My husband saw him. "Et je te jure qu'il a accéléré quand il passait devant la maison." I swear, he said, that he hit the accelerator when he passed the house.
It wouldn't surprise me if he had. I have been suspecting that he is avoiding me, since I really wasn't so sure, as I have mentioned, that he found my reluctance to embrace his pinning all of France's (and the civilized, ahem, world's) problems on immigration. A quasi-polite way to express one's most closely held racist views. Of course, he really wasn't trying to be oblique in his racial propos. He seemed rather proud of them, actually.
It would, also, of course, be unfair to suggest that it his is an uncommon point of view. He has a lot of company these days.
If he ever did not.
I mentioned this to my husband, "Tu sais, je me demande vraiment s'il m'évite maintenant qu'il soupçonne que je ne suis pas une enthousiaste de son point de vue." My husband said the French equivalent of "Nah".
"Non. Il est juste comme tous les autres. Ils commencent, et puis il ne reviennent plus jamais." Not that he was writing off his bigotry. Only my lack of it being his reason for not returning.
"Mais," I pointed out, "Il nous a même pas facturé. Il ne veut pas donc être payé?" You'd think he'd hurry up and return so he can bill us. We'd be thrilled to pay for work done. My husband merely shook his head.
Je sais: he will return when he needs us, or has nothing better to do one morning or afternoon. They don't call back, either. Not, anyway, until they actually know approximately when they think they might really have a chance at a shot at a possibility of an opening in their over-booked schedules.
"Je vais connecter en parallèle à ce qu'il a fait et ça serait fait."
I always knew we'd end up doing this part of the work ourselves, too. Just how big an idiot can I feel like for being endlessly optimistic? I already felt terrible today, hovering around the basin like a lovesick wallflower in the school hallway, hoping for a glimpse of the three missing koï and the missing shubunkin, one of which koï and the shubunkin I had just bought last week for -- oh -- some 60-something euros, hoping for a glimpse of even one of them like the biggest jerk of a jock at his locker. Or a worried parent after curfew.
That's a lot for a heron's breakfast, or shy fish.
I googled "koi hiding" and "disappearing koi", and I read about water temperatures, character traits and individual dispositions, raccoons and herons, the shock of coming home from the store in a plastic bag removing their slime cover and making them vulnerable to bacteria (but the store that analyzed our water said it was perfect on the bacterial front, and two of the missing fish have been happy residents of the basin since last spring, and no one is visibly sick). End parenthesis.
I cheered up a little when I read one thread that began on a May 3rd with two koï gone missing just after their introduction to someone's pond, one of which showed up a few days later, with the second making its appearance May 30th in time for Memorial Day weekend festivities, if it actually coincided with the 31st that year. Maybe, I thought, heading back out to kneel by the basin and peer into the water, mine will show up again, too. They are surely simply hiding out under the stone sink in their safe place.
I just don't believe (can't accept that) we have herons snacking on our fish, although two fish disappeared last year and were never, ever seen again. We don't like to talk about that.
Meanwhile, we need to decide if we initiate a lawsuit against the company who contracted to do the exterior of the house. We'll have to send the whole damn thing to a contract attorney for their opinion and make a decision. In the mind of those who have been counseling us, and mine, it's the only thing that will ever get them to show up again, and we can always decide to drop the suit.
My fear? Even if they come, the work will be so god awful that we'll only regret it. And then we'll have to go ahead with non-payment on what is left on the contract and move to protect ourselves there.
So, what would I rather? A guy who works like a charm and respects his work, but doesn't necessarily show when he sincerely (really and truly) hopes to be able to (I am talking about the mason, not the electrician), or -- or what?
This photograph (below) is NOT photoshopped.