A friend and I were chatting about becoming a local in La Clusaz. She’s from further North, but she corrected me when I said I believed it took three generations before a family is considered a local in La Clusaz. “No,” she said, “that’s three generations in the cemetery.” Based on this, and previous experiences which I’ve written about, I do not expect to be known by name or face around town. So imagine my surprise when a local who I have never met knew who I was and where I lived.
Okay, perhaps it’s not surprising that she knows where I live: she’s a real estate agent in La Clusaz. However, I’ve never walked into her agency before and as it’s not on the main road, nor even at ground level, so I’ve never even walked past. I was merely accompanying a friend to the agency, but I took the opportunity to ask about the availability of any apartments slightly bigger than my tiny apartment. As I started to explain where I lived to give her an idea of the size I was after, she smiled, interrupted me how tiny my bedroom is. She went on to tell me who my landlord was and roughly how long I had lived in my apartment.
So, do the locals talk about the foreigners who live in their town even though they don’t know them? Have I been gossiped about? Or is she just a very good real estate agent who knows her geography and potential clients very well? I don’t think I’ll ever really know. Probably best that way.