20 June 2010

Laptop disaster in France

Those who know me are fully aware of my most prized possession, my MacBook Pro laptop. My most important equipment as a graphic designer, artist, and photographer, not to mention my sole means of communication with my family, friends and fiancé in the USA.  Equipped with the latest design software, webcam, and all of my artwork, this sleek aluminum cased machine is my baby. Even after vigilant care, my worst computer nightmare has occurred.  

After a brief trip to Toulouse, where I ended up signing a work contract, I headed back to the train station for the all-day trip back to Metz.  

I was about to head to my platform when I happened upon an older, rather overweight gentleman laying on the ground at the base of the escalator. Others walked briskly by, as if he was invisible. 

"Vous avez besoin d'aide, Monsieur?" I asked

He replied that he could not stand up.  Without a second thought I offered my hand, not realizing the degree to which the man had lost his equilibrium. He struggled to his feet, wavered for a moment, and then collapsed to the ground, taking me down with him.  His weight was enough to crack my back, but what concerned me the most was not my well-being, but that of my laptop, which had just been crushed on the floor beneath the both of us.  

A passer by helped stand him up, and I immediately opened my bag to inspect my precious MacBook Pro.  The screen had been shattered.

I promptly burst into tears and told the man how costly the repairs would be, and asked him if he would help with the cost

He seemed panicked by my words. "Listen, I'm sorry, but I have no money, and really, you were under no obligation to help me up. That was your choice" he replied. "I'm really sorry, but I have a train to catch, I have to go." 

I followed him, my voice raising, my French becoming more and more riddled with mistakes. "But you can't do this to me, Monsieur!" I cried. "You broke my computer, and now you're not taking responsibility!" Instead of using the formal 'vous' to address him, I called him 'tu.' My French typically goes down the toilet when I'm panicked or upset.

Passers-by stared, and paused to watch the scene unfold. My tearful theatrics worked; a security guard approached us and asked what the problem was. I explained what happened, and the security guard addressed the man. 

"Your insurance should pay for this accident, Monsieur." he said authoritatively. You need to give this Mademoiselle your phone number, address, and insurance name so that she can be reimbursed." 

Maurice, as I learned he was called, begrudgingly attempted to scribble his information on a piece of paper. It was complete illegible. The security guard had to write it for him.  The more I examined Maurice, the more confused he seemed, and he swayed, as if on the verge of falling again.  Could he have been drunk?

I took his information, praying that he hadn't lied about his phone number. There was nothing more I could do, since I was about to miss my train.

Back in Metz, I found out the cost of repairing my computer screen: 779 Euros! For my fellow Americans, that equates to $1,080.78. Roughly HALF the cost of my computer! Luckily the information, art, and photos were still intact.

The repairman told me that I would have to pay the bill myself, then turn the bill in to the insurance company for eventual reimbursement. This type of disaster was definitely NOT in my budget, and took a significant piece of my already dwindling savings

After paying the bill, I phoned Maurice. Several times. No answer. Big surprise.

I must be a magnet for catastrophe.


  1. I was devastated to hear about this when it happened. Additionally, I am now devastated to hear that my heart is not your most prized possession, ha ha! I love you, baby!


  2. You've left a cliffhanger. Like you used to say when you were a toddler, "Tell the rest, Mommy." So add a Postscipt and "tell the rest, Jamie!" Mom


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