Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Postscript: Cheating on your Samsar

Yesterday afternoon, I ran into samsar number one at a neighborhood grocery store. After a friendly exchange of ça va’s he asked me, had I found a place yet? I nodded.

“I found a great place,” I told him, “I’m very satisfied, and thanks for all your help showing me all those other places.”

He smiled politely. “That’s great,” he responded. “Where is it?”

As it happens, the apartment I found is located in a building that this samsar had also mentioned to me once. He knew of an apartment on the first floor; what I actually saw with another samsar and took, was a unit on the second floor. But as soon as I explained to samsar number one where the apartment was, I became a bit uncomfortable with the suspicion that he might conclude I had rented the same apartment he had first mentioned to me. I was right.

He was hurt. It had been him who had first alerted me to that unit, he lamented. I responded by reminding him that he’d mentioned a first floor place and I was now renting on the second floor, but this made him angrier. First floor, second floor, it was the same place! How was he supposed to remember exactly on which floor the apartment was?

I tried to reason with him by reminding him of other facts – that he’d offered to show me that place, that I’d nodded in agreement, but that he had never taken me back there to see it.

He did not want to hear it. He was hurt, and he wanted a commission. He insisted I have Farid call him to discuss money.

Before I even had a chance to share this story with Farid, the latter’s phone rang. I could hear the samsar’s protests about my two-timing on the other side of the line, as Farid listened with a smirk on his face.

Farid isn’t worried. So what if he’s mad? He says. He doesn’t deserve a commission, and he won’t get one.

He’s right. But I can’t help being a little worried. I never like the idea of people being mad at me, and I definitely don’t like the idea of a Moroccan samsar being mad at me. I don’t want an enemy in the neighborhood. I also don’t want to give him money, though. I hope I don’t run into him any time soon. If I do, I kind of hope that calm reasoning will make him understand.

But that’s probably wishful thinking…

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