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Zooming In…This is the NOW

Patty's Neighbors in NimesPatty’s Neighbors in Nimes

I was supposed to be on a train coming back to Paris from Nice on Saturday in time for Easter Sunday. That was then, this is NOW. I never went to Nice at all. Patty Sadauskas was supposed to do the same, but from Nîmes to Paris in time for Easter. She has stayed there during the confinement.

The day after she arrived in Nîmes, which was the day the lockdown started on March 17th, a couple of nice neighbor guys came knocking at her door. She was so pleasantly surprised, she took a photo of them and texted it to me, commenting, “Some neighbors just stopped by to see if I was okay and if I needed anything. They were knocking on all of the doors. How nice is that?”

This past week, she sent another photo and text message: “Look at this horrible letter that my nice neighbors received. They think it’s someone in the building after they went around knocking on doors to help people. It’s hard to comprehend that someone would actually send this.”

The Letter from Neighbors

For those of you who don’t read French, here’s a translation of the letter the guys received:

 “We have nothing against homosexuals but we KNOW that you will be a carrier before others as AIDS has been. You can infect young children and frail people. So please avoid touching the doors especially by going to visit the whole residence to offer your help (we especially do not want any), the entrance of the building, and the trash room. As for the digicode, you normally have a badge in your possession to avoid touching the keyboard. If this is not the case, please ask the Syndic to do so. Thank you for your understanding and altruistic attitude towards others.”

Shocked by this anonymous letter at the words of incredible violence and stupidity, Arnaud and Julien decided to file a complaint with the authorities and an investigation will ensue as a result. The good news is that in spite of these homophobic neighbors, the others in the building are united. A letter signed by a dozen people was posted in the hall of the building to the order of the author of the anonymous letter.

Response Letter from the Neighbors

(translation):

 “We are a nurse, emergency room practitioner, a physiotherapist, a surgeon…and we are more exposed to Covid-19 than all of our neighbors, regardless of their sexual orientation, so I hope you will be delighted to learn that we are strenuously pushing on the digital code several times a day and throwing our trash cans in the dedicated room by opening the door using its handle. If you want to leave a letter for us too — anonymous of course — don’t hesitate. Make good use of it if there is ever a shortage of PQ [TP, or toilet paper]. It would obviously be best for YOU to leave our residence in which homophobia, cowardice, and discrimination have no place.”

Letter from Neighbors on Midi LibreLetter from Neighbors on Midi Libre

Heather HartleyHeather Hartley

Kathy BorrusKathy Borrus

Jack's Funeral on ZoomJack’s Funeral on Zoom

Brian Dunhill - Dunhill FinancialBrian Dunhill – Dunhill Financial

Cares Act - Democrats Abroad

Saam Gabbay photo of EricaSaam Gabbay photo of Erica

Wisteria in bloom in ParisWisteria in bloom in Paris

Emerald Green SeineEmerald Green Seine

The story went viral, starting with the local press. It’s even reached 20Minutes.fr, but here’s the whole story in the Midi Libre (in French). And as Arnaud’s emotional response waned, he commented, “There is so much more that is serious, all these sick people from Covid-19 at the moment. I decided to keep my head high.” And he laughed a little: “Definitely, with the confinement, the jerks are coming out!”

I guess those homophobic neighbors won’t do that again! At least, let’s hope not.

It’s hard to believe, but for the first time since 2003, there will be no Après Midi tomorrow. Our presenter, author Heather Hartley, is stuck in Italy, the café is closed and we’re all locked up in spite of the gorgeous weather. With Zoom.us, it might have been possible, but the point of the meet-ups is just that…to meet up, make friends, interact, and while we’re doing that, learn something new. Not to be discouraged, however, Heather has graciously agreed to postpone her talk until April 13, 2021…so we have a year to wait, but all is not lost.

For the May Après Midi with author Kathy Borrus, we’re not sure if lockdown will be over and the café open again. If it is open, then we may arrange for Kathy, who is in Washington, DC, to make a virtual presentation, not only to those of us who are physically there but to those who can join us on Zoom, too, by projecting her remote talk on the wall (we use the wall instead of a “screen”). It will be a first…but, never say never! Kathy being in Paris would have been then, but this is NOW.

Wednesday evening, while many people were celebrating Passover in very small groups, or virtually, I attended my brother-in-law’s funeral in New Orleans…also virtually, on Zoom. The Rabbi and the immediate family were gravesides wearing face masks, but 50 of his friends and relatives logged into Zoom to witness and participate in it. It was surreal in many ways but amazing and heartwarming that so many people could “be there,” not in body, but way more than in spirit, too. We were able to talk among ourselves, then watch the service, then say a few words after. The Rabbi recorded the ceremony and my sister can have it for posterity. This is definitely the NOW and I wonder if it will stay.

Since then, I’ve been on Zoom just about every night…for an “apéro” with friends on Saturday night and for a Paris Writers Group meeting Sunday night. Patty Sadauskas will celebrate her five years in France, what she calls a “France-iversary Party,” on Tuesday night, April 15th, with some of her closest friends…on Zoom.

For those of you concerned about the economy and your portfolios, NOW’s the time to Zoom in on a meeting with Brian Dunhill, of Dunhill Financial, who is offering 1st Quarterly Review 2020 – Economic Update on Zoom (of course) on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. EST/2:30 p.m. London Time/3:30 p.m. Paris Time: “The first quarter of 2020 has come to an end and the situation of the markets and the world as a whole has seen very turbulent times so far. We would like to invite you for our Economic Update where Brian will be sharing his thoughts on the current market situation and evolution and how this is affecting the way we are managing your portfolio.”

To join, please click on the link below and enter the Meeting ID and Password:

Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 119 725 958
Password: 56233811

You can either use the audio of your computer, or you can dial in with your phone at one of the numbers at this link.

Zooming in again…Democrats Abroad is offering information on the CARES Act and Americans Abroad during an online Webinar for Americans abroad on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at 7 p.m. CET (Paris Time). “Join Democrats Abroad as expat tax expert Nathalie Goldstein MsC, EA and CEO of My Expert Taxes discusses the implications of the CARES Act legislation for Americans living abroad, how to go about requesting a stimulus check, and other Expat 101 tax basics.”

RSVP at democratsabroad.org/

Once you RSVP, you’ll receive an email with the access details prior to the call.

For a fun look at the NOW, “This L.A. Photographer Turned a Coronavirus Lockdown Into an Intimate Portrait of Our Times, In a new video and photo collection called ‘Touchless Birthday’… Saam Gabbay created a brilliant way to celebrate.” My daughter, Erica, was one of his subjects! Read the article here and the video here.

The weather in Paris has been extraordinarily beautiful — temperatures in the mid to high 70s Fahrenheit, full sun, blue skies. It seems like a slap in the face to have such beautiful weather while being trapped indoors unable to fully enjoy it. I’m no meteorologist, but it seems that the very lower levels of pollution are contributing to our glorious weather. Could that be true?

Meanwhile, the trees are doing what trees do in spring…their leaves a bright green popping out turning the branches into place. The wisteria vines are full of flowers and my geraniums are loving the sun. With no boats on the river, the water is emerald green glass. Paris has never been more beautiful…yet never weirder! This is the NOW.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - in her bedroom, surrounded by photos by Steven Arnold, from the documentary, "Heavenly Bodies"

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

(in her bedroom, surrounded by photos by Steven Arnold, from the documentary, “Heavenly Bodies”)

 

 

The Adrian Leeds Group

Steven Arnold - Heavenly Bodies

P.S. For those of you interested in seeing the documentary about artist, Steven Arnold, “Heavenly Bodies,” which was shown at Paris Photo last November, it’s NOW available free of charge at vimeo.com/355230919

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