Monday, November 19, 2007

And then there's the informal Social Orientation of Di in Belgie

Oh yes, it's not just about formal classes ... no no no.

Tonight, as I was running out the door, the elderly neighbour opened his door and looked out.

'You're noisy', he said.
I said, 'Oh sorry, is it the children?'
He said, 'No, it's you, with your door'.
I was startled.
He continued. 'I close mine like this', and demonstrated the closing and opening.
I was mortified. I thought I closed mine like that too. I've been doing doors for a number of years and no one has ever complained.

I apologised profusely because I was so mortified.
He seemed mollified.

I phoned Gert from the elevator and confessed that I had just been reprimanded about the way I dealt with our door.

He said, 'Oh, it's broken. I need to fix it.'
There was me thinking it was just a standard rubbish apartment building door ...

I asked him to go explain to the neighbour.
He said he would.

He didn't.
He fixed it instead, so now the neighbour is going to think that I really was rubbish at opening and closing doors ... sigh, another vote to the extreme right next elections, all because of that immigrant door failure upstairs.

On the bright side ... he didn't, as per the style of my orientation textbook, say: 'This is a door. In Belgium we use them to enter and leave buildings.'

Gert did play with fire though.
He did ask me to lock the door a little more quietly in future.
I'll guess we'll all be speaking in whispers soon.


Peter said...

It's a nationwide issue Di. Trust me, even the locals suffer from the same problems in some buildings.

If you really go upscale, the "eigenaars syndycaat" may inform you unofficially, but quite often right in your face, that they "don't like your visitors", while in some really posh buildings the neighbours may feel your clothes, car of general behaviour conflict with their desired living environment.

As long you don't run into a certified trouble maker, I'd advice on ignoring them :-)

Di Mackey said...

It doesn't happen back home, although it's simpler as we mostly live in houses and have space ... obviously not so possible here.

I couldn't live in 'the eigenaars syndycaat' ... I really can't tolerate that much interference in my life.

Thanks anyway, I'll try :)

Mlle said...

Isn't it disheartening to meet your Belgian neighbor on those terms? He could have easily said hello, how are you.. did you realize how loud you are when you open and close your door?

Damn you Di! It's people like you, slamming doors all over the place that make people go to the right.

Manictastic said...

Maybe he was trying to make conversation, in a weird twisted only possible to be executed by old folks way. But yea, living together in one building is tough and closing the door to the stairway with a lot of noise does tend to resonate through the entire building.

Di Mackey said...

It is disheartening ... sigh. Specially when I'm on my way to social orientation class and particularly miserable ... another sigh.

I know, I've become one of 'those' immigrants, without the social skills to use doors correctly ... making extreme right voting a necessity.

Conversation ... maybe Manic. Maybe I should explain to him that I'll talk to anyone.

But everyones door makes that noise because the doors are quite horrid, they're the kind found on built-in wardrobes in cheap housing in New Zealand. I was quite stunned after having heavy metal doors in Turkey and pretty doors in NZ.

It's grey and raining and I've got class tonight ... sigh. It's all about the social welfare system and how to get a yellow card. I did the real thing quite some time ago, sigh.

Anonymous said...

Closing doors mightnot be your speciality, but opening them is. The you-tube on Turkey did ... I regognised the Isle of Kekova, Capadocia, Pamukkale and of course the soul of Turkey.
You could surprise your neighbour with a NS speciality, inviting him ... risky but worth to try. Or you could ignore him as a prove of your social integration ... maybe (if he 's a belgian) he would be less surprised... See you! Lut

Di Mackey said...

I thought of you when I watched that youtube Lut, I'm glad that you found places you recognised :)

I did smile over your suggestion - I'll let you know what I do.