A Preponderance of Poop
Sex, Poop and Herbal Remedies
Monday, March 30, 2020 • Paris, France
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
I had tickets to go to Nice tomorrow — an 11-day sojourn to which I was really looking forward...an atmosphere of sun and surf and maybe even an all alone "Assover" Seder like last year (Do you remember reading about it?) This year, Passover is cancelled due to a plague...now that's a joke!
I waited until Friday to decide whether to go or not, even though technically, legally, traveling is "interdit" — forbidden. But, I dreamt of sitting on my balcony in the sun, taking long walks along the Promenade des Anglais (now "interdit," too), wallowing in my colorful apartment (affectionately and appropriately called "Le Matisse" for that very reason — its explosion of color and bright light) and taking long bubbly baths in the big oval bathtub.
The SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer or French National Railway Company) didn't send a cancellation notice, but they did send a message in English (how did they know I was an Anglophone?!) and in effect, the frequency of trains has been reduced. Exchanges and refunds (up to 1.5 hours before departure and up to 60 days after departure) are available free of charge up until April 30th. Sales points are closed, but you can use the website to do these transactions. Thanks to my "Senior Card," exchanges and refunds are free anyway. The reason I waited so long to make the decision...perhaps they were going to cancel it for me anyway?
What became the tipping points for staying in Paris vs risking a trip to the south were: 1) the weather — the prediction for Nice was cold and rain for all of this week while Paris was looking sunny and relatively warm for the season! (Shocking, but true.) I couldn't see sitting on the balcony in the rain. 2) The news that "France Transfers Coronavirus Patients On High-Speed Train With Mobile Emergency Room." Did I really want to be on a train with coronavirus patients? I think not! Hence, the cancellation. Paris, you're stuck with me for now.
John Garland Jones, living in Nice a stone's throw from my own apartment, walks his doggy, Dozer, daily and takes a video of his walks then posts them on Facebook. It's a great way to stroll along with them and see the streets of central Nice. Last week, he made a point to pass my apartment and say hello to my little balcony for me. Boohoo, I cried, but noticed that the skies were gray, making me feel as if I'm missing less.
Last week Paris was sunny and blue-skied like I'd never seen Paris. Its become a ritual to head out for a walk after lunch, within the limits afforded us — less than a one kilometer radius of home and for no more than one hour. Besides the fact that there are so few people on the streets, the funny thing is that for the first time in my history in Paris, people are actually moving aside to let me by, rather than walking straight into me like the French are so well known to do. It took the coronavirus to make Parisians more courteous!
You might not notice this habit of theirs at first, but after a while of living in the City of Light, you come to realize that Parisians think they own their space on the sidewalk. So much so, that they will not, under any circumstances, move aside to make way for you. They walk down the middle of the narrow sidewalks, and will not shift right or left when they see you coming. That's for YOU to do, not them. It makes no sense to us Americans, but I swear this is true. Ask any transplant.
American blogger, Whitney Cubbison, wrote, "I had more sidewalk shoulder collisions in these early years than I care to admit. Every time, I wanted to stop the person, grab them by their shoulders and scream 'You can see me, right?! Am I invisible??' I felt I must have become invisible because SURELY if they saw me, they’d move over to let me pass! It’s just common courtesy, no? It got to the point that I let go of courtesy entirely. I’d just drop my shoulder like a linebacker playing a weird mix of American football and sidewalk chicken." (If you don’t believe that this is really a thing, watch the first 3.5 minutes of this interview with Scarlett Johansson on Letterman.)
Another oddity is the unbelievable amount of bird poop on the sidewalks. While there's not a boat on the Seine or a car on rue de Rivoli, I've never seen so much bird poop in my life! Doggy poop? Not much, but the birds are having a field day. They must be loving the city they have all to themselves. One of my friends says she watches them mating from her window, so clearly they're happy creatures. And I'm not sure what they are eating, but they are definitely pooping it out. If you go out for a walk, don't worry about getting hit by a car — there aren't any, but do avoid walking under the trees!
An article in the "Much Ado About Paris" blog by Hugh Nelson titled "Love in the Time of Coronavirus" juxtaposed with Gabriel García Márquez' book, "Love in the Time of Cholera," came just in-tune and in-time with New York City's advice to its residents to masturbate! (I swear this is true.) In a PDF available on the NYC Health Dept. website, it reads:
Love you, you New Yorkers! Along with that advice, I can add some of my own immune system boosting advice...something you don't see much of
on the Internet. According to the health experts, "there's no magic food or pill that is guaranteed to boost your immune system and protect you against coronavirus." Maybe not, but there are ways to "keep your immune system functioning optimally, which can help to keep you healthy and give you a sense of control in an uncertain time."
Here's what I'm doing personally, figuring none of it will hurt and if anything, it mentally helps ward off the possibility of getting it, like a placebo! (Ever hear of Dr. Joe Dispenza's "You Are the Placebo?":
* Daily exercise: yoga, hula hoop, walk 30 minutes to one hour.
And you now what? So far, so good.
A la prochaine...
P.S. Special thanks to all of you who voted for me as "Best Expert" in this year's Expatriates Magazine's Best of Paris competition for 2019-2020! And congratulations to all the other winners. You can download your free pdf copy here.
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