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MAY'S APRES MIDI: May 12, 2020
Kathy Borrus, Author and Freelance Journalist
Notre Dame de Paris: A Celebration of the Cathedral
LIVE on ZOOM!
Due to the Coronavirus confinement, for the first time ever, we will host Après Midi LIVE from our homes on ZOOM!
Kathy Borrus is a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. She is the author of multiple books including Five Hundred Buildings of Paris, One Thousand Buildings of Paris, The Fearless Shopper, and Stubby, a children's picture book. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, PurpleClover.com, Fits, Starts, and Matters of the Heart, Art Business News, and FranceGuide among others. Her most recently published book is Notre Dame de Paris: A Celebration of the Cathedral.
For this appearance at Après Midi, Kathy will talk informally about Notre Dame, how she came to write and research the book, and the stories that fascinated her about it.
Clearly, Wednesday's Nouvellettre®, "Don't Kill the Messenger," struck a chord. More than 250 of you bothered to respond with your thumbs up for doing what I do: present an honest view of life as an American in France. I want to thank each and every one of you for your overwhelming support of the voice I try to have...as open, honest and not afraid of controversy. My assistant, Patty Sadauskas, is desperately trying to respond to all of you personally, but rest assured, I see each and every one of the emails, even if I'm not the one personally thanking you.
Out of the 250+, one or two people just don't want to see the truth. One wrote: "You are so ignorant. Do spread that false information all over the world."
Okay, I got a good laugh out of that one, but the best one of all, is from a guy, a doctor no less (or so he claims), who clearly didn't even read what I wrote, because he reiterated the same rhetoric as all the others on the other side of the fence about whom I complained. Here it is verbatim:
> Maybe you should work for CNN. > Maybe, in fact you dooooo work for that pathetic Godless and lawless fake news organization....CNN. Hmmm! > > Anyway, after reading these constant, unmitigated, continuously false political attacks by you on a setting U.S. President that millions of us Americans support, I would suggest you stick to selling real estate and for heaven sakes do yourself a service and some good by STAYING OUT OF POLITICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTARY! > > It will not make you any friends nor help your business, ONLY HURT YOU, in these desperate times. > > Sincerely yours, > Dr.J > > P.S. I will wager you here and now, 1000 euros, pounds, Swiss francs or dollars that President Trump WILL be re-elected in November 2020. Would you care to bet? > > Please advise. > I will be waiting. > > Warmest regards, > J (Living in Europe for many years now...)
What can we do? As Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." Fortunately, there are enough of you out there who aren't being fooled at all.
You have to admit, the press has had a field day with Mr. Trump's suggestion that we study UV light and inject disinfectant to treat coronavirus, as did the public. CNN (you know, that "Godless and lawless fake news organization") ran this video pointing out Dr. Birx's reaction on camera to Trump's dangerous suggestion and the makers of Lysol, freaked out (I don't blame them) and felt compelled to issue a statement urging the public in no uncertain terms not to consume its products!:
"Under no circumstances should disinfectant products be ingested or injected into the human body. Disinfectant products are not appropriate treatments for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)."
Can you imagine the additional deaths we could have in the U.S. of his supporters who actually believe and trust him? It's really frightening, and not at all funny, although the jokes about all this abound and I must admit, I've gotten a good laugh out it while appalled.
(BTW, just to correct my bad math in last Wednesday's Nouvellettre®, the number of deaths were per the million, not the thousand. Sorry for the mistake! And thanks to a few of you who pointed out the error, not the "fake news!")
Closed and "shuttered" Pompidou
Masks by Indiennes de Nîmes
Meanwhile, France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe last week gave a 2-hour 20-minute long press conference in which he set out the plan for life in France after May 11th. He called this new phase "living with the virus."
No, life doesn't go back to "normal." In fact, I doubt there is a "back" or a "normal." The number of deaths in France continues to fall. That's a good sign. The plan is not fully determined, but it will be rolled out in a few dates and debated by the French parliament at the beginning of May. Here's what we know so far:
Anyone who can work from home will continue to do so...for a while. (No problem for me.)
Some businesses will start to reopen. Bars, restaurants, cafés, museums and tourist sites will reopen...but we don't know when. (I can't wait to go back to Café Charlot for lunch!)
Social distancing stays in force, everywhere...one meter apart from one another is to be respected. This will be toughest on public transportation. (I don't mind at all that the French now actually walk around me instead of into me!)
Open businesses are expected to provide sanitizing gel to all customers upon entering the location. (Great! What did I need that gallon of gel for?)
Schools will reopen from May 11th, but parents aren't obligated to sending their kids back to school. (I'll bet they can't wait to get them out of the house!)
The classes will be refilled gradually. (I wonder who will have the privilege first?)
Travel within and around France will be allowed after May 11th. (Yeah! I'm booking my trip to Nice ASAP.)
International travel is up in the air (pun intended). (No joke. I've got tickets to Greece for June and am hoping the airline cancels them for me.)
Travel outside of France or Europe is being discouraged for July and August. (No problem. My annual August beach vacation in Corsica is still in France, so no sweat.)
Mask-wearing will be compulsory on public transport after of May 11th and masks will be distributed by local authorities. (I just ordered three beautiful masks fromLes Indiennes de Nîmes).
Exercise is up for grabs. The Ministry of Sports is campaigning for jogging, cycling and walking to take place as normal after May 11th...not just for one hour and not just within one kilometer of home. (I've been cheating a bit on my long daily walks, anyway...at least to the river and back.)
By May 11th, there will be enough tests to administer to anyone with symptoms and voluntary tracing is a big idea on the boards, to be debated by the parliament in May. One hundred fifty thousand people every week are being currently tested, but the goal is to reach 500,000 by May 11th. (Tracing is a great idea to get us back in business sooner, rather than later.)
If you test positive, you must quarantine yourself, but you can at least be with your family, as long as you follow the rules! (I've gotten so used to being alone, it may be weird to have people around!)
The over 70's group, consider vulnerable, should stay in confinement longer than the others. Visits to nursing homes will be allowed as of today. (Fortunately, I'm just a few years away from that age group and not yet in a nursing home.)
Germaphobic will continue — hand-washing, using hand-sanitizing gel, avoiding handshakes and kissing (God forbid) is way up there on the list of recommendations. (I wonder if sex without kissing is acceptable?)
Weddings and funerals are a no-no, at least those involving more than two people...at least for a while. (And let's hope for fewer funerals in person or on Zoom!)
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and the other local officials who only got half-elected with round one of the elections and never got to round two because it was cancelled, will see the final results sometime this year. A decision won't be taken until the end of May as to when. (She must love this little delay, unless she fears for her job as a result of the virus.)
Changes the French will have to make:
No more kisses on the cheek for everyone and anyone. No more playing chicken on the sidewalks. No more breathing down the neck of the person in line in front of you. No more getting married, dying or going to church...just sex.
All this effort for what is estimated as between two and six million people in France who have been exposed to the virus. The problem is, we don't know which two to six million. If we did, we wouldn't be in this mess. Either way, life will not go "back to normal." There is no "back" and there is no "normal."
P.S. For those of you sheltering-at-home (by order or not) and dreaming of a move to France, or even a property purchase, this can be a good time to prepare for and work toward that dream. I'm at home, too, and happy to connect with you on Skype or by phone. We can talk about a strategy to change and enrich your life by living or investing here. To schedule your time, email me now!
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